Specially Designed Instruction
Specially designed instruction is individualized (NASDSE, 2018).
An article from the 2013 Odyssey (DesGeorges, 2013, p. 30-33) discusses how individualizing deaf education services is critical to success. But what is individualized deaf education in a world driven by course codes? The Florida Department of Education discusses the importance of specially designed instruction (SDI) in their technical assistance paper, What’s Special about Special Education? Specially Designed Instruction for Students with Disabilities within a Multi-tiered System of Supports, including its relationship with standards-based core instruction.
One of the reasons SDI is integral is that students who are deaf/hard of hearing (DHH) need instruction in Florida’s Expanded Skills and/or Speech & Auditory Training Standards. These standards focus on the unique skills students need to access their environment, receive meaningful educational benefit from the educational experience, and prepare them for postsecondary education and/or employment.
Myth: Extended School Year (ESY) occurs only during the summer months.
Truth: ESY can occur anytime during the school year. IDEA (34 CFR § 300.106 (a)(3)(ii)) states that, “a public agency...may not unilaterally limit the type, amount, or duration of [ESY] services.”
Any predetermination or set policy on the amount of time ESY will be provided is contrary to state and federal regulations. Individual determinations regarding the number of weeks, days per week, and minutes per day should be based on each student’s unique needs. ESY could take place during any school break, or even during the school term in addition to the regular school day, depending on what the individual student needs to receive his or her free appropriate public education. If the IEP or family support plan team determines that the student needs services beyond the school district’s established 180-day school year, then a plan could be developed to provide the needed services.