Special Education and Special Needs
Published 22 Nov 2016
Special education is the mode of teaching based on an individual rather than a group. It is systematically planned and maintained to serve the needs of a student or learner who has special learning needs.This mode of teaching include adopted varied materials and equipments, different accessible settings and other interventions that are distinctively designed to assist learners with special needs in fulfilling greatest personal self-reliance and success in the institution of learning and community at large.
Special education has developed to serve children categorized as “out of education considered ordinary”, and which is offered to most children in the society (Sally 2).This education is offered to students with special learning needs, these needs occur due to experienced difficulties in schools such as lack of concentration, problems of personal perception, behavioral disorders, difficulties in making and maintaining friends.The main source of such problems includes the physical disorders, psychological disorders, and emotional disorders, behavioral and learning disorders.
All these conditions demand for special services whether the children are in public or private schools. Due to complexity and sensitivity of the topic in discussion many teachers are adopting different teaching strategies that will enable students adapt to the environment without feeling out of place.The current trends adapted by teachers vary due to different challenges that each teacher face in classroom situations. In the same way a special education learner undergoes stress James et al (4), accounts the emotional stress a special education teacher too has to undergo every day due to the classroom situation which is at times uncontrollable.He termed them as “scandal of special education”.The learners are suspended, others drop out not to mention others who have encountered with juvenile justice system.The teacher has to deal with cultural realities and utilitarian policies of schools. They (teachers) are therefore developing policies that are confined to a particular school since the procedures vary from one school to the other. Learners with these special needs are receiving non-discriminatory testing, evaluation and placement, the right to due process, education in the least restrictive environments and one that is free and appropriate.
Teachers have also structured relevant instructional goals and objectives of this special education. According to Occupational Outlook Handbook discussion, some institutions of learning have specifications as to how long the school year will take for such programmes which is mostly determined by the school community.Teachers dealing with special education have integrated it with the general education where students have been returned to regular classroom, although some of these trends have proved to be ineffective and claimed to repeat the mistake of the history.
The schools and the society at large have employed scientific child-study techniques to identify different disability needs.Some schools have introduced integrated and inclusive education in order to support teaching in regular classes and establishment of resource room facilities with different models of service delivery systems.
For one to tackle special education satisfactorily as a teacher one should undergo specialized programs that prepares one to deal with a particular disability.One should design an appropriate curricula on special education geared towards the needs of each student and abilities.This is of course possible if one builds a positive classroom culture.Working together to co-ordinate with those involved with a child”s well being like the parents, social workers, school psychologists, occupational and physical therapist, school administrators is also very important.
Special education should be structured in a way that ensures learners experience success and have meaning consequences to achieve desired behaviors.There are ways that ensures easy implementation of special education. US Education State University has suggested ways for its implementation in schools: first, there should be early identification of the various types of disabilities in order to provide essential education that is specific to the needs of student tailored towards his/her individual needs. Teachers should be updated with the current trends like the current technology which is becoming increasingly important in special education. There are for instance specialized equipments such as computers with synthesized speech, interactive software programs and audio tapes to assist children. There is therefore need for teachers to liaise with technological expertise to assist in such teaching strategies.
Due to increased number of special education students, the government should train and generate more teachers.The teachers need to undergo enough training in order to cope with competency levels in terms of the ability to teach children with multiple disabilities.There have been suggestion that teachers should be specific and not switching to general education.The cost of special education needs to be made affordable to those in need of the services and classroom materials to be supplied wholeheartedly by the government.
The curriculum to be based on Individual Education Program (IEP) which outlines specific goals reviewed with the help of parents, the school administrators, the students, general and special education teacher. All these must also be involved in keeping records such as medical records to avoid misunderstanding. (Lindberg. et al 4)
In conclusion Special Education is everybody’s responsibility and whichever decisions that need to be made should be learners-based and one made to serve his needs and interest and that of the society that he lives in. Every child has a right to Education irrespective of his or her needs and must be given equal opportunities. The mentally and physically handicapped child is a life worthy of life and not a burden to the society.
- Lindberg.J.A, Walker-Wied.J, Kristin M., Beckwith.F, Common-sense Classroom Management for Special Education Teachers, Grade K-5, Corwin Press, 2006; 4-5
- Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2008-09 Edition Teachers—Special Education
- Sally Tomlinson, Sociology of Special Education
- Routledge Publishers, 1982; 2
- Special Education – Current Trends, Preparation of Teachers, International Context “http://education.stateuniversity.com/pages/2438/Special-Education.html“>
- Paul.J.L, Lovely.C.D, Cranston.A, Taylor.E, Rethinking Professional Issues in Special Education Ablex Publishing, West CT, 2002 ; 9