Special Education

Special needs students require a special education classroom

Special education is a term that has been used to refer to many things, but the best special education definition we can provide is that special education refers to a way of meeting the needs of students who have learning disabilities, cognitive impairment or psychological issues that lead them to struggle in traditional settings. While intellectually gifted children often benefit from nontraditional learning environments, the term "special education" is usually taken to refer to children who are behind, rather than ahead of, their peers.

What Kind of Child Needs Special Education?

Typically, students with mental disabilities, such as autism and other disorders of neural development, are placed in programs designed to meet their specialized needs. However, educators are showing increasing sensitivity to other students who can benefit from specialized attention in the classroom.

Kids with learning disabilities like attention deficit disorder (ADD) and attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) used to be pushed through the system, right alongside other students, despite the fact that they have special needs. More and more, teachers are learning to recognize the signs of these conditions and the techniques to help students thrive in spite of them.

Special Education Learning Environments

While students with mental disabilities were traditionally segregated from students in regular educational tracks, there has been an increasing trend towards integration (also known as inclusion special education). Schools still frequently employ a special education teacher who has specific training, though many special needs students are encouraged to interact with other students and participate in class to the greatest possible extent. Special education software is also used to facilitate computer-assisted learning.

Despite the trend towards integration, few experienced educators would deny that there are students who would be better off placed in special education schools. This is best evaluated on a case-by-case basis, though, so if you have a child with unique educational needs, talk to an educator with experience in this field.

Though there are certainly those who would argue that their local district is still woefully underserved, many school districts now have special education schools at all levels, from special education elementary schools to special education high schools. There are public special education schools, but it's also possible to enroll in a special education private school (such as a Catholic special education school). Some schools also offer housing for mentally challenged students, but this is relatively rare. With any luck, we will continue to see school districts across the country continue to receive the funding required to open and maintain these schools.

Becoming a Special Education Teacher

People who want to work exclusively with such students can earn a special education degree in teacher's college. Alternately, teachers who have already earned their professional credentials can supplement with special education online courses or additional teacher training.

While training to become a special education teacher, you will learn about special education laws in your area (and how they are best applied), special education history (how things used to be done and what we learned from it) and special education statistics (with regards to what valuable information we can glean from statistical analysis). Most importantly, you will also be taught the most current techniques for administering special ed lesson plans.

The best special education schools aren't the ones with the biggest budgets, they are the ones with a caring staff. It all starts at the top--a dedicated and capable special education directory is vital. After that, it comes down to the rest of the staff, from the teachers to the volunteers. When everyone works together, special education can be truly special.

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Touchdown! That's a rellay cool way of putting it!
Posted on 9/24/2012 9:29:00 PM