Teaching Special Needs Students
- June 30, 2015
For many teachers, accommodating learning disabilities is one of the most challenging parts of their jobs. While there are more resources are available to make teaching special needs easier, it can be difficult to translate theory into practice. By working with each student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP), teachers can meet the student’s educational needs.
Many special needs students have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and can improve their social, communication, and self-care skills with early intervention. By creating learning games for children with autism, special needs teachers can help them succeed later in life. Many children with autism and other special needs benefit from special teaching areas and techniques, resource rooms, and innovative use of technology.
Many special education programs for kids are built on this principle. Teachers are encouraged to set up their classrooms to be accessible to all children. Clearly designating parts of the room for certain activities allows children with special needs to feel more comfortable as they go throughout the day. Creating a consistent, predictable schedule — and following it — takes out the anxiety of wondering what comes next in the students’ day.
In addition to creating welcoming learning spaces, it is recommended that teachers use encouraging language to help students learn acceptable behavior. Asking a student to do something nicely is often more effective than asking a student to stop doing something they are not supposed to. Overly verbose language is discouraged; it is easier for students to understand when a teacher speaks plainly. When teaching special needs students, it is important for a teacher to be patient and kind to help their students succeed.
By tailoring the classroom and teaching style to each student’s individual needs, teachers will be able to help their students develop and find their educational and social strengths.
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