The term special need is used to refer to a wide range of conditions and deviations from the norm in people of all ages. Most notably, the conditions are discovered in elementary schools, and teachers are encouraged to develop teaching approaches that suit these children. Some of the conditions that are classified as special needs include poor auditory memory, poor sense of time, easily frustrated, low self-esteem, poor handwriting, demanding verbal skills and easily distractible, among others. For teachers, children with special needs offer an exciting opportunity to teach and develop. However, as with any task, teaching such children comes with its demands. This short paper will explain approaches considered as ideal in teaching children with disabilities.
The most important consideration is the childrens strengths. It is necessary for the teacher to do a background check on children coming to his or her class from an earlier grade. In this case, previous teachers will provide a lot of useful information on the childrens behaviors, strengths, likes and things they hate of just those things they do not like (Strax, Strax, and Cooper, 2012, p. 107). Discovery of their strengths is very vital for teachers who are tutoring the kids for the first time. It means that they need to be super observant and patient to know the childrens behaviors. Some of the disabilities can be too mild to be noticed, For example, it can take longer than usual to see that a child has difficulties with handwriting, as compared to a problem with auditory skills.
After the teacher has created a log of the childrens strengths and weaknesses, he or she should design a strategy that leverages on those strengths. This can be very complicated because each kid has special needs, and those needs are different. Hence, the teachers use a multi-faced approach to developing the strengths and keep the weaknesses at the bare minimum. For instance, for a kid who knows how to knit but has problems writing, the teacher can encourage the child to knit words and numbers (Armstrong, 2016). This will stretch the kids abilities to understand and carry out basic tasks and get his or her at par with fellow children in class.
Children with disabilities and special needs have difficulties in establishing human connections. The teacher should be keen on making sure that these kids have friends by developing pairs during class time. These pairs should be classified as weak and strong relationships, to note the kind of skills that will be transferred from one kid to the other. Some applications simulate teaching lessons for children with special needs, and they can prove to be valuable to the teacher, in reducing the amount of time spent trying to construct relationships between and among kids in the class. Another key input into the networking and social interactions of these children are cross-age mentor teaching approaches. Certain factors like similarities and shared disabilities are used in setting up the pairs or teaching groups.
Mentoring plays a pivotal role in the lives of children with disabilities. This works best with introducing to them someone who has similar disabilities, yet he is very successful in life. There is a need to inculcate a sense of belief in these children because they feel lowly endowed from the onset. In an example, a child with visual impairment would love to interact with someone who has the same disability but still manages to work and earn a living like any other person. The understanding that disability is not inability is a crucial finite belief for the children, and it helps in developing their talents and strengths of the children.
Another factor to consider is the general learning environment in the class. The teacher should construct an ecosystem of neurodiversity, where, instead of viewing the kids as having disabilities, he sees them as having diversities. The attitude backdrop helps in accentuating the positive growths in kids with different specialties and minimizing the weaknesses, to the point that the children perfect their skills. A positive and exciting interaction with kids living with disabilities or special needs removes the atmosphere that would make the kids feel inadequate and promotes self-esteem, self-confidence, and commitment to pursuits that would build their careers.
As discussed above, children with special abilities or special needs can be understood from the perspective of diversity. In this thinking approach, these children will be considered to be differently enabled or diversified. The environment, therefore, will be that of a skills market, where different strengths meet and grow. The introduction of mentors at early ages helps in giving the children a mirror image of where they will be in future and helps in boosting confidence and self-belief. Teachers are without a doubt a critical component of our lives, not just for the children with special needs. Therefore, a strong link between the children and other children with the guidance of the teachers goes a long way to enhancing the talents of children with disabilities.
Armstrong, T. (2016). 7 Ways to Bring Out the Best in Special-Needs Students. Education Week Teacher. Retrieved 16 April 2016, from <http://www.edweek.org/tm/articles/2013/04/08/fp_armstrong.html>
Strax, M., Strax, C., & Cooper, B. (2012). Kids in the middle. Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield Education.
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