From 2019 to 2020, there were 7.3 million children classified as special needs.
If you are teaching children with special educational needs, you’ll need to do some things differently to care for them.
Keep reading to learn more about supporting students with special educational needs in schools!
Create a Relationship First
First, you’ll need to create a relationship with them. Yes, you do have a curriculum and you don’t want anyone to fall behind, but for a special educational needs and disability student, they may already be falling behind.
While you might want to focus on academics, make sure that they’re cared for as well. If they’re stressed out all the time, including in your classroom, you won’t get very far.
When schools put an emphasis on helping students with their emotional and social wellbeing, they’re more likely to get caught up in their work. Kids with special needs might just need a little bit more of that attention and special care.
Review the Last Lesson
You should always spend a few minutes at the beginning of every day trying to review the last lesson. For example, if you studied arithmetic last time, study that again before you jump into the new lesson.
This gives them something to focus on. You may also want to emphasize the key points from the lecture and highlight keywords as well.
For example, in a word problem, underline the two numbers that they need to add together. This will help them focus on the task that’s expected of them.
Focus on Their Strengths
You should also figure out what the strengths of your students are. You should talk to their previous teachers and look over their files.
Keep an eye out for what their highest grades were and what other teachers had to say about them. Then, you can start to figure out what their strengths are.
You may even want to pass out a survey and ask the kids and parents what they think their own strengths are. When you have this information, it’ll be easier to tailor your lesson plan to suit their needs.
Have Breaks for Attention
You should also give them breaks so that they can avoid having to pay attention all the time.
Try and teach them what paying attention looks like and what you mean. It shouldn’t be threatening, but it can really help them learn how to focus on the lesson.
This will teach their brain how to focus and keep them in tune when their brain doesn’t want to focus.
Provide Accommodation and Support
Many students have problems learning on their own. They need support to learn, and the information needs to be broken down by visual aids, check-ins, and manageable pieces of work.
In the classroom, the teacher can always provide support. However, if you feel like your student needs a little bit more help, offer to help outside of school hours as well.
You can use this extra time to have a check-in on their independent work and let them ask questions. They may be more willing to ask questions in a more personal setting compared to the classroom.
Some children also have problems with emotional self-regulation. This is especially true for online students. They may get overwhelmed and need to put their brains back in a calm and regulated state.
To do this, you can have the child come up with a signal that lets them know when they need a break. By doing this, they can regulate themselves, and then be ready to learn when they’ve had a chance to calm down.
When students are less stressed and overwhelmed, they’re more likely to engage in the discussion and remember the information.
You can also use different technology, like school management software, to assist you in your teaching.
There are different apps that will help you with students with special needs. For example, if they can’t write very well, you can use a speech-to-text program.
Or, if you’re teaching a child with autism, you can have them use an iPad and communicate to you that way.
Check Their Performance
As the semester goes on, always make sure that you’re checking their progress. If you’re assigning seatwork, make sure that they demonstrate how they got certain answers.
They should also feel free to share their own thoughts and processes so you can learn how their brain is working. This will also give you an idea of if they actually understand the information or not.
These moments will help students correct their mistakes and catch them early on so that the problem doesn’t get worse. You can also show that you support them by providing them help and care.
You should also not give them any timed tests or other quizzes that create a high-stress environment. This will just set off their anxiety, and they may not be able to fully demonstrate that they know and understand the knowledge.
Discover More Ways to Engage With Students With Special Educational Needs
These are only a few ways to engage with students with special educational needs, but there are many more strategies to use.
We know that being a teacher or running a school can be overwhelming, but you don’t have to do it on your own.
Did you find this article helpful? There is even more great content this website, so make sure you check it out.