The purpose of Exception Student Education (ESE) is to help children reach their potential within the school setting and later on in life. Children who are below grade and above grade are within the ESE department. This includes gifted children, as well. Most times, a child is identified first by the classroom teacher where interventions take place, and then by the ESE department, where a parent meeting takes place to discuss the parent’s and child’s rights commonly referred to as Procedural Safeguards and to discuss further interventions. Lastly, an evaluation takes place by the District or County’s psychologist to determine mental development. Identified ESE children will have modifications written down on a legal document referred to as an IEP (below level) or EP (above level). Procedural Safeguards are critical to the child’s success. It outlines how the teachers, staff and family will work as a team to enforce and ensure a successful academic career for the student. Plans, testing, and resources are documented throughout the child’s school years and they are available for review and modification at any time.
Method and Best Practices to Include All Children
The best method to teach ESE children is to place them with children that do not have disabilities. Have you ever felt “different?” Certainly! Children want to be included. The best method is to include the children is everything. This way they get to see that everyone is different. Litter each classroom with beautifully colored anchor charts with reading strategies and questions you would expect to see under that particular comprehension.
For example, Character Development, how has the character changed from the beginning of the story to the end of the story? Each station or center should have bright neon paper that simply states the expectations. I can read a fiction story and respond with a Main Idea and Details Map. I can select a Just Right book using the 5 Finger Challenge Chart. I can use my Reading Strategies such as chunking or getting my mouth ready. I can ask my Go To person any questions I have to help me be successful in the classroom. I can select the appropriate Manipulatives to help me add or subtract my numbers. I can refer to the Reading and Math Groups on the wall to make sure I learn with my group. Directions are very important for success with all students. Including ESE children is critical to the success after school as well. As a society, we do not want to be labeled and including children will give them an opportunity to see that each and every one of us is different.
Children should never be excluded because of their mental development levels. This will cause a homogenous world in which we are lumped together based on likes and dislikes. The old saying of opposite attract are tried and true. We need to continue to blend. Children must be protected which is why Procedural Safeguards must always be in place. They are too young to speak up for themselves, as such; we need to speak up for them. Consistency and repetition work best with children. A classroom needs many colorful anchor charts with directions to promote a positive environment. Less rules and punishments and many rewards will make your classroom a successful one of happy children. Remember; happy children grow up to be happy adults!
- Wilmshurst, L., & Brue, A. W. (2010). The complete guide to special education (2nd ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
- Nola Purdie & Louise Ellis (2005). “A Review of the Empirical Evidence Identifying Effective Interventions and Teaching Practices for Students with Learning Difficulties in Year 4, 5 and 6”
- What is Exception Student Education for Children who are Gifted? (2011) Retrieved April 5, 2013 from
- Florida Department of Education (2013) Retrieved April 5, 2013 from