Sunday, May 18, 2008

Multi-Categorical or Non-categorical Special Educator

A non categorical special educator is one with a classroom that includes students with a wide range of disability categories and learning needs. Such classrooms and placements are known by several other names across the country -- cross-categorical, multi-categorical and mixed ability special education classrooms. Whatever the name, they all signify the same thing - that students are placed together for learning, rather than separated into distinct classroom "categories" that describe their identified physical or learning disabilities.

QUESTION: About teaching in multi-categorical classrooms, wouldn't that require a teacher like me to be certified in a lot of different areas?

It depends on what state you teach in. Special education certifications vary from state to state. Some states offer categorical licenses that certify teachers to teach children of all ages with a specific type of disability. Other states offer a more general special education degree that certifies a teacher to teach children with all disabilities in a specific age range. Most states offer a combination of these certification types. Geiger, et al., 2003 reports that there is an identifiable trend toward multi-categorical licensure, especially for teachers of students with mental retardation, orthopedic impairments, other health impairments, serious emotional disturbance and specific learning disabilities.

It also depends upon how your state is interpreting the "highly qualified" requirements of the so-called No Child Left Behind Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004. Both of these laws stipulate that who teach core academic subjects need to demonstrate that they are qualified to teach the subjects they are teaching. Special education teachers who teach in multi-categorical classrooms are most likely teaching multiple core academic subjects. The bottom line is that special education teachers will need to follow the process outlined by their states to demonstrate that they are "highly qualified" whether they are teaching students who all have the same disability or who have a variety of disabilities.

No comments:

Promethean Planet


The following is the opinion of the writer and is not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, or individual. Any view or opinion represented in the blog comments are personal and is accredited to the respective commentor / visitor to this blog. This blogger reserves the right to moderate comment suitability in support of respecting racial, religious and political sensitivities, and in order to protect the rights of each commentor where available.