Educating any child takes patience and expertise, but educating a special child is a highly demanding job. Such children require more attention, patience, and guidance than regular students. Unfortunately, most education systems are not well-equipped to cater to children with special needs.
Usually, children who struggle are secluded from regular classrooms and taught separately from other children. Moreover, they have different curriculum, activities, teachers, and education policies. While it may seem well-intentioned, it is not the ideal approach to achieve the best outcomes.
Some modifications and advancements in the current education policies can aid special children in acquiring quality education like other children. Keep reading to find out five best practices that can give the most fruitful results when teaching students with disabilities.
1. Inclusivity is the Key
Even in 2022, schools practice segregation between students with special needs and regular students. The education department must ensure that every child, regardless of any disability, receives a quality education amongst their peers.
School districts should understand that inclusiveness is the key to maximizing special children’s learning capabilities and socio-emotional growth. They should take essential steps to modify the current education system and class curriculum to meet the needs of children with disabilities. Specialized classrooms should only be an option when no other attempt yields the desired results.
2. Skilled Teachers Teach Skillfully
Inclusivity is essential for making special children feel included, but some cannot perform well in groups. A skillful teacher is well-equipped with the knowledge to cater to the different behavioral requirements of each child. So, schools should encourage their teachers to get diplomas and degrees, like the MAT Special Education Online Program. Such programs enable teachers to understand struggling children’s cognitive and socio-emotional needs. As a result, they can help such children achieve academic success. Moreover, their skills also allow them to analyze students from diverse ethnicities, linguistic backgrounds, and socioeconomic statuses to make necessary changes in educational policies. Also, check free coding for kids as coding is an essential part of the 4th industrial revolution.
3. Create Pragmatic Modifications
Darwin’s concept of survival of the fittest may have been about living beings, but one can easily apply it to education systems. If we keep providing special needs children with traditional education instead of highly individualized special education, we will never let them reach their full potential.
You might think this contradicts the idea of inclusivity. However, that is not the case. While quality instructions in a general classroom environment are essential for special children, many kids require additional support. Therefore, we need to introduce positive and productive classroom modifications to make education more inclusive. For instance, to maximize the learning capabilities of a kid with Down Syndrome, the teacher can provide a puppet theatre. Moreover, schools can also provide audiovisual aids, audiologists, and visual impairment instructors.
4. Introduce Positive Role Models
Sadly, our society has conditioned children with special needs to feel like they lack something. Teachers can help students overcome this preconceived notion by introducing them to positive role models with disabilities. When children with special needs learn about famous people who share their conditions, it gives them hope and motivation to do better.
The teacher can dedicate a section of the curriculum to famous people with disabilities who made a mark in the world. Some famous people with special needs and disabilities include:
- Stephen Hawking (ALS)
- Steven Spielberg (ADHD)
- John Nash (Acute Paranoid Schizophrenia)
- Chris Burke (Down Syndrome)
- Albert Einstein (Asperger Syndrome)
Learning about the success stories of people who encountered any type of disability will motivate children to stop considering themselves disabled or weak.
5. Focus on the Strong Suits
Respecting the difference between each student’s abilities is important, but focusing on their strengths is vital to their success. Teachers should make a conscious effort to learn about their students’ interests and maintain a record. To do that, they can ask the student’s previous teachers, their parents, or the student directly. Asking what the student likes to study or what they are good at will also help develop a bond between the teacher and the student.
After identifying each student’s strengths, the teacher should use them as anchors for developing their learning strategies. For instance, if students struggle with their reading lessons but enjoy drawing, the teacher can help them learn by illustrating different words. Moreover, if students learn well through music, they should be taught through rhymes and jingles.
The Bottom Line
Educating children with special needs is no easy feat. Still, we can achieve the best outcomes with advanced and inclusive education policies. In this ever-evolving world, our education system should also evolve and be more flexible and accommodating to the needs of children who struggle, unlike regular kids. Schools should now make conscious efforts to promote creativity instead of compliance and create an all-inclusive environment for kids regardless of their disabilities. When education systems cater to each student’s unique requirements instead of putting them all in the same box, we ensure children’s bright futures.