We live in an increasingly inclusive world. We have the resources to educate children in new and different ways, and we understand how to grant more rights to those who need them. Children with special needs are not so different from us. They simply need a few modifications here and there. That is why I’m going to talk about how we can help these kids succeed. No matter how much they may or may not understand or be like us, we owe them as much. This blog talks about 8 Ways to Help Special Needs Students Succeed.
What are Special Needs Students
Although the definition of special needs varies, a broad definition includes children with severe emotional, intellectual, physical or developmental disabilities that affect their ability to learn and interact with others. These kids don’t fit into our traditional school system and need extra support to help them function at grade level.
Special Needs Students are removed from regular classrooms because they can’t cope with being isolated from peers and struggle socially. In addition, different times require different levels of support for students with special needs. Because of their disabilities, these students need one-on-one or small group instruction to accommodate their individual learning needs.
8 Ways to Help Special Needs Students Succeed
You need to be open to new ideas because most people aren’t. Society has created an idea of what it means to be normal and special needs are often seen as “abnormal.” They are an exception to the rule, and as a teacher.
You must understand that there will always be exceptions. There will always be kids who don’t fit the mold, whether they have special needs. Don’t let your preconceived notions cloud your judgment of a child’s ability.
Be a Teacher, Not a Doctor
Many teachers believe they must understand every detail of every disability to teach the kids what they need. This is not true at all. I would say that many teachers, who think they know it all, actually don’t know anything. Read over the profiles of several different disabilities to get an idea of how different conditions affect different people differently.
Pick up a couple of books on each one too; after all, you can never learn enough new things! Of course, you can’t learn everything from one website either.
Spend Time with Special Needs Kids
Special needs students are often misunderstood and mistreated by their peers and their teachers. We need to spend time with them outside the classroom to learn what makes them tick.
Don’t just assume that you know how they feel about things. Find out for yourself! It’s better to have an open line of communication between teachers and students rather than a barrier that separates you from them.
Some students can’t communicate verbally or understand the written word like most children. So finding a way to communicate with your students is important, and it isn’t always easy. It can be quite a challenge. But the reward is worth it. It’s great when you can understand where your students are coming from and know how to help them best in a way that fits their needs!
Use Descriptive Language
This tip can be helpful for all of us, not just teachers of special needs students. It does make a difference in how kids understand concepts if you use clear, descriptive language and examples when speaking to them about something new. The more vivid your description of a thing or an action, the easier it will be for them to comprehend it.
Give Students a Voice
Many kids communicate better through drawing or illustrations sometimes. You should encourage your students to doodle or draw the things they have to say in their work so that you can understand what they are trying to get across. Then, even if they don’t understand it, you know that they mean what they say, which will help them express themselves more effectively.
Stay Strongly Centered on the Student Work
Special needs students often get frustrated when their work is not getting noticed by their teacher. They want you to be aware of their work and be fond of it, but they may not understand why you are so upset when you see it. Try to stay centered on your student’s work and their successes, rather than letting other things distract you from their “failures”.
You aren’t a mind reader; not all special needs students will understand or agree with your ideas on how they should be taught. But you can tell when a student doesn’t understand because they will show it. As a teacher, you need to empathize with your students like any other person with a job. I know it’s not always easy to deal with struggling kids or have trouble learning, but you need to try.
Keep in mind that every student is different, and every disability is different. These are just a few tips to follow for the most common ones. In addition, it’s important to remember that special needs students don’t all have the same disabilities and that there is no one way to help them succeed.
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