If you have a child with special needs, you are one of millions of parents. Children are classified as having special needs, because one or several disabilities prevent them from performing optimally in a social, classroom setting. A complicated medical history can also be a strong indicator of special needs. Some common disabilities that are found in special needs children include behavioral disorders, physical limitations, developmental delays, and learning impairments such as dyslexia. These handicaps could set a child behind in school academically, and make socializing with peers difficult and overwhelming. For this reason, many parents send their children to special education programs that have teachers who are trained in working with learning disabilities.
In a special needs school, there are several ways in which teachers can help students who need the extra help. Depending on the disability, children are taught and treated at the level at which they are most comfortable. For example, since 75 percent of children with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) display unusual eating behaviors, a trained professional will be able to work with an ASD-diagnosed child carefully during mealtimes at school. Children with ASD are often extremely intelligent, but cannot cope with sudden changes in schedules and daily tasks. Teachers work with these students to feel successful at their current task, and also give them ample notice about transitions to different subjects or activities.
Children with autism and other disabilities also benefit from differentiated instruction to meet their learning needs, as well as assistive technology and resource rooms where they can explore their own learning with extra help. This can be achieved in a general education school setting as well. Several dual-certified teachers are also trained in working with learning disabilities. This is called an inclusion classroom, where special needs children are incorporated in a regular school classroom with the necessary supports at their disposal. Teachers who are dual-certified, differentiate their lesson plans, providing tactile, sensory, and visual learning for all the various types of learners in the classroom. There are also aides that push into the classroom to assist special needs children, and pull these children out to provide them with extra support during the school day. Some aides stay with the children throughout the day, taking them from one activity to the next. All of these plans are indicated on a student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP). An IEP is state mandated, and must be followed by a school to optimize a student’s success by catering to his or her individual needs.
School districts have developed several solid, effective ways of working with learning disabilities within a general education setting. These methods have proven successful for many students. But for children who need a more intimate environment, special needs schools provide them with the best learning opportunities possible. There is ample help for children with learning disabilities, cognitive disorders, and many other impairments that can make every day life in a school exhausting. Your child deserves the highest quality education regardless of his or her disability, and there are many programs that can provide this priceless experience for them.