Tips to Help You Teach Special Education Students Effectively
Check out our list of tips to help you teach special education students effectively.
Take an inventory of your attitudes about special education. They may contain biases affecting your relationship with learners and special education educators. Understand that you will have special needs learners in your classes. Talk to the special education executive or the school principal about how the school provides for the needs of the identified learners.
Introduce yourself to the special education educator. If you are a special education educator, introduce yourself to the general education educator. You will be working closely together, so take the time to get to know each other. Remain to discuss class expectations, learner expectations, and expectations of each other before the year begins.
You are accountable for all of the learners in your class. Most special needs learners will be identified with learning disabilities (LD). Learners with learning disabilities will be expected to succeed in mainstream settings. You will be responsible for following their Individualized Education Plan (IEP) and providing the modifications to their lessons that will assist the learners in learning. Special education learners are not an “add-on” to your roster; they are a part of your class.
Many conditions will identify a learner as special needs, such as autism, ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder), Tourette’s, and many others. If you have a learner identified with a special need, ask the special education educator for material that will help you understand the need.
Understand that the paperwork involved with a special needs learner can be daunting. You will keep records and documentation, and the special education educator will also keep documentation. This can be overwhelming and frustrating at times. Attempt to be as organized and methodical as possible in your approach to record keeping.
Even if you are not a special education educator, know and use the legal terminology in special education such as Individualized Education Plan (IEP), accommodations, modifications, assistive technology, inclusion, and consultative model.
Realize that by law, you must follow the special needs learner’s IEP. Understand specifically the accommodations and modifications for special needs learners and what you must do to meet their needs. You can be fined for not adhering to the IEP.
Adhere to the guidelines of the special education division in your school. They will offer forms, charts, checklists, and other materials that will help you document the learner’s progress. Remain methodical about the documentation, including dates and times. All info is important when annual IEP meetings are called to discuss a learner’s progress.
Schools must offer the least restrictive environment for each learner. This could include anything from a school program to a treatment plan at an off-site facility. As the class educator, you will be involved with programs within your building. You will meet regularly with the special education team and parents to discuss the progress toward full inclusion in your class.