How to Help Learners With Special Needs

Photo by Alexander Grey

For educators, it could be just as much a challenge to help such learners as teaching other kids. The best part of it all is that you’re helping these kids reach their goals. However, you will have to face roadblocks that may slow the process down. Learning how to make the experience rewarding for these children will help you find success. Know how you can put smiles on these kids’ faces and help them find their potential.

1. Know your student more deeply

As you introduce yourself to the learner, give them the time and creative space they need. Allow them to introduce themselves in their own way, and don’t rely on basic questions. Go for games that allow your learner to reveal their likes, dislikes, and hobbies. You might also want to ask the learner’s parents about their interests and habits. Having that much knowledge about the learner will help you cater the learning experience to their needs.

2. Be understanding and patient

A little patience is needed in dealing with learners with special needs. Some may require medication at certain times of the day, while others may be uncooperative or restless during a session. No matter the case, a teacher like yourself should be prepared to deal with anything that transpires in the classroom. Learn how to avoid stimuli that may trigger certain behaviors. When the learner becomes difficult to deal with, stay calm and look for an activity that will help them refocus.

3. Diversify your teaching materials

Not at all teaching strategies for all learners with special needs. A fruitful learning experience will depend on your ability to adapt. Personalizing the teaching methods you use is a good start. For learners diagnosed with autism or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, consider creative activities that include finger painting and playing music using toy instruments.

Learners with hearing impairment will also have loads of fun if you have them make stories out of photographs or illustrations. Don’t always settle for what’s in your lesson plan. Be prepared for activities that are guaranteed to engage the learner.

4. Work closely with others

Helping learners with special needs requires a team effort. Apart from your teaching skills, you should also lean on the expertise of others. If you have a student who is deaf-mute, get a tactile interpreter to help you communicate instructions and provide feedback. It’s also important to work closely with the learner’s physician or therapist so you can develop a proper teaching style and determine what activities can support their needs.

5. Use new technology

Aside from getting inputs from the learner’s parents and physician, you should also use tools that will streamline the teaching process. These may include assistive tools such as listening systems and text-to-speech devices. Interactive methods such as the use of VR/AR technologies are also perfect for providing more immersive experiences.

Teaching learners with special needs has to be the most satisfying job in the world. So long as you apply the tips above, you can make a difference one child at a time. 


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