Exceptional Student Education (ESE) is a combination of special programs and services exclusively for students with special needs. In some school districts, this is referred to as special education. Schools with a special education program are devoted to providing quality education and catered services to students with physical and/or intellectual disabilities.
An intellectual or learning disability is when an individual has well below average intellectual functioning. This can manifest itself in the form of academic delays and reduced function. Autism is one example of an intellectual disability, although many autistic individuals are high functioning and can do just fine in a standard classroom. For the more severe students, a special needs program is necessary.
Exceptional Student Education or Special Education teachers must be specially certified. They may hold an education degree in ESE or Special Ed. Different teachers have different methods of teaching exceptional students and many have to change their plans year after year with new students and disabilities. In some districts, behavior-problem children are also placed in Special Education classrooms simply for bad behavior, not due to a disability or special need. This can be distracting both for ESE students and faculty.
ESE curriculums are based on state and school district standards. Students may receive extra instruction or assistance from other teachers, instructional assistants, and speech pathologists or therapists. For the most severely disabled students, focus includes developing motor and mobility skills, learning adaptive technology, and undergoing physical therapy.
In some cases, students may make sufficient progress to be placed in a standard classroom. They may continue to work with an ESE teacher every day either in or outside of the classroom. The classroom teacher should work closely with the ESE teacher to determine the student’s special needs and to offer continuity in the development and teaching of certain skills.