Special education (also known as special-needs education, aided education, exceptional education, special ed. or SPED) is the practice of educating students in a way that addresses their individual differences and needs. Ideally, this process involves the individually planned and systematically monitored arrangement of teaching procedures, adapted equipment and materials, and accessible settings. These interventions are designed to help individuals with special needs achieve a higher level of personal self-sufficiency and success in school and in their community which may not be available if the student were only given access to a typical classroom education.

Special education includes learning disabilities (such as dyslexia), communication disorders, emotional and behavioral disorders (such as ADHD), physical disabilities (such as osteogenesis imperfecta, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, spina bifida, and Friedreich’s ataxia), and developmental disabilities (such as autism spectrum disorders and intellectual disability) and many other disabilities. Students with these kinds of disabilities are likely to benefit from additional educational services such as different approaches to teaching, the use of technology, a specifically adapted teaching area, or a resource room.