Special educational needs educators work with children who have physical, emotional, cognitive, and mental disorders or learning problems. These educators teach them basic subjects and life skills to make comprehending things and interacting with other easy. Handling special needs children is no easy job and requires a sympathetic nature and great patience. Teaching children who face exceptional challenges in doing daily tasks can be difficult. Not only they require more time and support to carry out the simplest of tasks, but also a special environment which enhances their learning abilities. Hence, one must use appropriate strategies when you are with such children. Following points show what needs to be done to become a special educational needs educator.
Create an Individualized Education Program (IEP)
Since every child is unique and has different needs, it is best to maintain a report. It helps to understand how each child is progressing and what areas must be given more focus. A teacher must keep a detailed record of performance levels of children and revise strategies if required to maintain proper growth.
Establish a curriculum
As teaching special children can be patience testing experience, it is always better to be prepared for it. To ensure all round development of the children, one must set up a curriculum and make use of techniques that can be easily understood. Try following the same routine so that the kids will know what is expected when a certain action is done.
Try to be interactive with kids
Preparing your lesson in advance increases the curiosity of children, makes them take interest in the class and reduces their chances of being distracted. Instead of directly starting with lots of instructions, try to connect with each child and understand specific needs. For example, some children might require conveying the thought by gesture, sign language, and touch. Try to explain each activity that is going to be carried out in class.
Observe for small signs
Every child perceives instructions in a distinct way and might not be able to talk about things that are causing discomfort. At such times, one must remember that unusual behavior is also a form of communication. For example, when a child shows disinterest in activities that he/she usually enjoys, it can be a signal about something that may be bothering him/her. Try to understand this or consult parents of the concerned kids.
Try to be flexible
It often happens that these children refuse to leave the side of their parents or a guardian just to feel secure in a new environment. In this case, at least for the initial days, you must allow the person who accompanies the child to school, to come inside the classroom and participate in various activities. This will reduce anxiety in child and slowly help him/her get familiar with the place. Also, when a child is facing difficulty in following instructions personally, assist him/her or ask a child with whom he/she has developed a close bond to help.
Maintain a positive attitude
Always have a back-up plan ready. It might happen that on certain days a few children might turn relentless and are in no mood to carry out the task or participate in learning. While you cannot expect all to follow the commands in the very first week, show appreciation for minor improvements. Complimenting a child for small actions can encourage his/her peers to strive for the same and also creates a positive environment in the school.
Each day in a class of special children can bring unprecedented problems. A particular student might throw a fit or have an epic meltdown when the entire class was concentrating on a lesson. You must treat each day as a new one and never lose the passion to bring about some transformation in the lives of these students.