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What is a Special Day Class?

By J.Gunsch
Updated May 16, 2024
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A special day class is an intensive educational program designed for children with special needs. A child may be eligible for this program if he or she suffers from severe mental or emotional disorders and learning disabilities. These problems must be severe enough so as to cause a child difficulty in performing in a regular school setting or in alternative less-intensive special education programs, or to be at risk for harming himself and/or other classmates.

This program focuses on helping children develop social skills and self-control. Attention to the academic curriculum is also important, however, children that need a special day class are often intellectually capable of learning the material. In this case, learning disabilities may be a symptom of emotional problems, and therefore must be addressed before the child can fulfill his or her academic potential.

The range of intelligence level of children in this program measured by IQ can vary from below average to exceedingly high. As such, their academic instruction is usually adapted by an Independent Educational Plan (IEP) to fit each child’s individual needs and capabilities. Children diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), Asperger’s Syndrome, or autism, as well as some gifted children, often require and benefit from a special day class.

A special day class normally consists of a very small number of students, generally with a maximum class size of ten students. It is held in a structured setting where students stay in one or two rooms for the entire day. The class is usually held during the same hours as a normal school setting, unless the child is incapable of enduring the length of a typical school day. The room is staffed with at least one teacher who is trained in special education as well as assistants who help to provide the children with individualized instruction.

The program is designed to help children become successfully integrated within their community. Most aim to get children to the point where they can return to school with their peers and eventually live a healthy and productive life.

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Discussion Comments
By oasis11 — On Jan 18, 2011

Subway11-I have heard good things about Kumon too. I have to say that when my daughter was in kindergarten there was a little boy in her class that was on the Autistic spectrum that also needed to see an occupational therapist.

The mother could not afford to continue sending him, so she bought the Handwriting without Tears program to help him with his fine motors skills. If she would have placed her son in a public school the school would have offered a special day in order for him to develop his fine motor skills and strength in his hands.

The program is the very same that they use in the public school systems and it was designed by an occupational therapist.

This is a program that any parent can follow with their child in order to help them develop their strength in their hands.

By subway11 — On Jan 18, 2011

GreenWeaver-A great program that helps children with ADD is Kumon.

Kumon Reading and Math centers offer a mastery approach to education that really benefits these children because of the constant repetition. In addition, children are trained to write the start and end time of their assignment so that they are forced to focus and manage their time.

After a while children gain a mastery that gives them the confidence that they never experienced before. It takes a while for them to get used to it but once they do they love it.

By GreenWeaver — On Jan 15, 2011

SauteePan-I agree with you. Sometimes children that have Attention Deficit Disorder also need extra help and would benefit from a special class because their brain is wired differently than the average student which makes it difficult for them to focus.

In addition, they tend to take longer performing tasks in the classroom and because their inability to focus they usually do not complete assignments.

This is especially problematic because these children cannot complete tests which almost always results in a failing grade.

A psychologist once said that children with ADD or ADHD process information differently and a typical school day for them is like trying to read a book when you are looking through a pair of glasses that has petroleum jelly on the front of the lens.

These children need to receive their lessons in small dosages and a special day would be great.

By SauteePan — On Jan 13, 2011

It is really a nice thing for these children to have a special day. It really helps them to develop their knowledge in academic subjects at a pace that is comfortable for them.

In addition, they also get to be involved in a mainstream classroom so that there is no stigma associated with their affliction.

Some of these students are very bright but have problems regarding auditory processing or sensory processing disorder.

Some children are on the autistic spectrum that range from highly functioning autism such as Aspergers or a more profound case of Autism.

Another thing that is common among these children is they often have poor fine motor skills and need the aid of an occupational therapist to assist in the proper letter formation and the basics of penmanship.

Some children also need speech therapy which is important because this is often the result of having poor muscles in the mouth which is why the speech therapy classes can be so effective especially at such a young age.

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