Education Beyond Borders

Education for Children with Special Needs

Teaching children is a responsibility unlike any other. But when you need to teach children with special needs, the responsibility increases. The challenge becomes even bigger, as well. Unlike children without special needs, those with special needs will react differently to noise, sudden temperature changes and even bright lights. Aside from environmental influences, you’ll need to adjust the entire teaching method to children with special needs, and we know exactly how to help you do it.

Practice patience

One of the first characteristics you’ll need to have is patience. Every child, regardless of their needs, will need a teacher to be there and assist them in a time of need. Whether they have a question or need your physical assistance with performing tasks, you'll be their biggest support in the classroom. When it comes to children with attention disorder or autism, you will experience sudden outbursts from them. That is when you need to know how to handle the situation. Refrain from sudden moves, don't yell or touch them. You'll need to have patience for their reaction and try to calm them down without making them more agitated. Moreover, children with learning disabilities won't be able to process some information quickly, so you'll need to repeat yourself a lot. Prepare for that situation in advance to avoid any stress that children will notice and feel. 

Include visual aids

Teaching children with special needs will require more creativity on the teachers' part. Pictures, charts, and graphs will be of great assistance, offering more insight and better representation to students. The more colourful and vivid the pictures, the better. Make learning as interactive as possible with special needs toys and props that will make every class an enjoyment for the kids. Atomic nee doh balls, fidgets, and similar toys have been shown to offer the needed help for students with special needs during class time and when they’re taking a break. 

Minimize distractions

ADHD students will be easily distracted by anything that doesn’t include learning. So, it is vital for you as a teacher to provide the students with a structured learning environment. The key to a classroom like that is to make students enjoy themselves and focus on learning more than anything else. One of the characteristics of a structured classroom is a small group of students. You as a teacher will be able to focus on every student with equal attention, and they will all be focused on your teaching because they'll know you have your eyes on all of them. Always create a quiet, comfortable ambience for the students to focus easily. Introduce positive reinforcement and provide feedback to the students every time. 

Let students always know the schedule changes

Another factor that will make teaching children with disabilities more manageable is handing out a predictable schedule. That will be especially important and useful for students with autism. They like predictable routines and will feel uncomfortable if they’re faced with any unpredictable changes. Always inform the student's parents about last-minute changes. That way, they can ease the kid into the next day's itinerary. Even a field trip or a special guest in the classroom are considered the change of an everyday routine. Therefore, let the students know about those changes in time. Children with autism won’t handle a substitute teacher well unless they’re prepared for the other person to teach them for a day or few.  

Environmental triggers

Creating a comfortable, secure environment for students is the key. Special needs students will be triggered by anything from too hot or cold temperatures, loud noises, and bright lights. Don't risk causing unnecessary classroom outbursts and discomfort but do your best to create a comfortable ambience in the classroom. If you notice any of these factors before class, try to eliminate them effectively. 

Final thoughts

If you're about to start teaching children with special needs, you'll need to prepare yourself well. Do your research and talk to other teachers to seek advice. It's always good to learn first-hand from other teachers whether it's too challenging to be a teacher for children with special needs. That will allow you to prepare yourself even better and know precisely what areas to work on the most. Don't forget to check out the tips that we've provided because they'll offer invaluable insight into all that you'll face in the classroom. Remember, every child is special, and the one with special needs is even more so. They all deserve special treatment, regardless of their needs, and your job is to make their education days as fun, enjoying and carefree as possible.

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