As a teacher, you may encounter students with special needs in your classroom. This can be an intimidating prospect. You may feel unprepared for the challenge of meeting these students’ needs and keeping the rest of your class on track, especially if you don’t have a lot of experience teaching students with special needs.
Special Education students are a unique population of students who have special needs. They require specific accommodations in order to be successful in the classroom. This article will describe how to support these students and help them succeed in the classroom.
Create a well-organized classroom environment with clear expectations for behavior. In addition to helping all students by providing structure, this signals acceptance and help for those with special needs. It is also important to create a classroom culture that values difference, welcoming students with special needs as contributors valued members of the class.
Differentiated instruction is one of the best ways to meet the needs of students with special requirements. This may mean changing the way you teach a concept so that it is accessible to a larger group of students or changing the type or amount of work expected from a particular student. For example, instead of reading aloud from a book, you might play an audio version for some students. You might also consider giving some tests orally rather than in writing, or using visual aids where you would typically use written instructions.
There are many ways that special education can help your child. For example, if your child has trouble reading because he or she has a vision impairment, then you might want to find out what type of vision aid would be most beneficial for your child.
The first step in helping special needs students in the classroom is to become familiar with the Individualized Education Program (IEP). This is a legal document that outlines what accommodations need to be met to help the child succeed. These accommodations can include things like extra time on tests, preferential seating, and/or having an aide in the classroom. Some of these accommodations may seem small, but they can have a big impact on the student’s ability to learn.
As a teacher, you have a knack for observing your students’ behaviors and understanding how they are adjusting to the classroom. Your observations may lead you to believe that a student could have a disability. So, what do you do?
First, it’s important to be sensitive about how you discuss this with your student and his or her parents. Some disabilities are easier to spot than others, but because it can be so difficult to know exactly what is going on with your student, it’s best to approach this conversation from a place of concern rather than concrete knowledge. You don’t want the parents thinking that you think their child is “weird” or “different.”
Rather, use language like “I’ve noticed some behaviors that make me concerned about his ability to keep up with the class,” or “I feel I haven’t been able to reach her as well as other students and I’m worried.” The best way to open up this discussion is by making it clear that your first priority is the wellbeing of your student. You’re not telling them something they don’t already know—you’re just making sure they know you care.