Special education is an important area of teaching that doesn’t often get much attention. There are many myths and misconceptions surrounding this important style of teaching, so it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the basics before you start your first job as a special education teacher.
The first thing you need to know about special education is that it’s not an entirely separate category of education. Instead, this is a kind of “umbrella term” for any type of teaching that caters to students with special needs. You might be teaching students with developmental disabilities, or those who have disabilities like autism spectrum disorder (ASD). It’s also possible that your students will have physical disabilities such as blindness or deafness.
Some teachers even specialize in gifted education, which will require you to teach your students from an advanced perspective. In other words, you’ll need to be able to adjust your teaching methods on the fly in order to accommodate the unique needs of each student.
The best way for you to make sure you’re getting the skills and knowledge necessary for special education is through certification courses. Getting certified ensures that employers will see you as being qualified enough for the job.
Because each student is unique, the term “special education” is used broadly in this guide to refer to any type of specialized instruction or support that helps a student succeed in school.
As a teacher, you will most likely come into contact with several students who need some form of special education during your career. While you may not be responsible for providing the actual services yourself, it’s important that you know how to identify students who might need special education and what to do if you suspect that a student needs additional support.
Special education is a broad term that encompasses services for students with behavioral, emotional, physical, or intellectual disabilities. It includes the following: Psychological and cognitive testing; Individualized Education Plans (IEPs); and specialized instruction from teachers who have certification in special education.
The next step is to identify specific areas of need for each student. This may involve working with parents and other teachers to track behavior patterns, physical symptoms, and academic struggles with an eye toward uncovering any underlying issues. This can be a complicated process that requires patience, empathy, and persistence—especially when children or parents are resistant or defensive about acknowledging a disability. Once you have identified a student’s specific area of need, the next step is developing an Individualized Education Plan (IEP).
An IEP is a set of instructional aims created specifically for each student’s unique strengths and needs.
Special education is a broad term used to describe instruction designed to meet the needs of students who cannot be reasonably accommodated by standard school offerings. A student may need special education services for any number of reasons, including intellectual, physical, emotional, or behavioral factors.
There are two main types of special education services: general and supplemental. General services provide specialized instruction in most areas of a student’s educational experience, while supplemental services only provide extra assistance in specific areas where the student requires additional help.
A child needs special education if he or she has a disability that substantially limits one or more major life activities such as learning, speaking, walking, hearing, seeing or working. The disability must adversely affect the child’s educational performance and progress within the general education curriculum.
One of the biggest challenges that teachers face is working with students who have special needs. At first, teachers may feel overwhelmed and unprepared for this challenge, but there are some steps you can take to ensure a positive experience for both you and your student.
The first step is to make sure that you understand what the special needs of your student are, and what accommodations they require in order to be successful in the classroom. If a child has been diagnosed with dyslexia, they may need longer time on tests or assignments, or the opportunity to use a computer instead of writing out answers by hand. A child with ADHD may benefit from taking frequent breaks throughout the day, or sitting near the front of the class so as to minimize distractions.
Once you have determined what accommodations are necessary for your student, try to create an environment in which they can thrive. for instance, a child with autism might do better in a classroom where all instruction is given through written text rather than oral instructions; whereas a child with hearing loss may benefit from being seated near the front of the classroom so that they can better hear what is said by the teacher and their peers.
Keep in mind that these modifications will not only help your student succeed academically but socially as well.