Special education teachers work to ensure that all students have access to an appropriate education as required by law. The special education teacher can convey to the student how they can be the most successful and what avenues for success are available to them. They can encourage students, provide an understanding of the specific student disability and help the student develop personal strategies for success. Additionally, special education teachers have the opportunity to provide modified instruction and alternative assessments that align with specific disabilities.
An individualized education plan outlines a success plan for the special education student. With this plan in hand, the special education teacher is able to identify efforts and achievements of the student individually or in a small group. The accomplishments or advances in skill level are not viewed or discussed relative to regular education students. Therefore, the stage is set for students to gain confidence and expect more of themselves as they see their achievements applauded.
Assist Student in Developing Personal Coping Strategies
Special education teachers have a large knowledge base on a wide variety of disabilities and are able to facilitate the development of student strategies that will increase a chance for success. For instance, a student who has attention deficit disorder, or ADD, may need to sit in the front of the room so that all distractions are out of the line of vision. Or, the student might need to write all assignments down in a particular place and develop a routine for studying. The special education teacher can teach these strategies and explain to the student how they will prove to be beneficial.
Provide Modified or Supplemental Instruction
Special education students benefit from instruction from a special education teacher because the teacher is equipped with the best strategies to teach specific disabilities. For the student who is learning disabled in reading, the special education teacher can implement instructional strategies that provide the greatest opportunity for success in reading or provide supplemental reading assistance. If the student is dyslexic, the special education math teacher is able to present the material in such a manner that it will be more easily understood by the student.
Provide Modified Assessments
Some special education students may not be able to provide evidence of competency, proficiency or even understanding without modified assessments. For instance, some special education student's reading levels prevent them from reading and comprehending test questions. It may be that the student has an intellectual grasp of social studies material, but they may not be able to read or comprehend the test questions. Taking the test orally will provide a more accurate indication of performance level. Modifying assessments by presenting alternative test formats has the potential to reveal a true indication of understanding.
- University of North Carolina.edu: Standards for Special Education Teachers
- Commission on Teacher Credentialing: Education Specialist Teaching and Other Related Services Credential Program Standards
- Press Enterprise: RIVERSIDE: Special education teacher helps students thrive
- U.S. Department of Defense Education Activity: Special Education
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