Every child deserves a quality education to prosper in this world. However, many people discriminate against children with learning disorders and forget that they deserve the same level of education as their “normal” peers. Just because these kids may have difficulty learning does not mean they are less talented. It is why inclusion needs to be practiced by teachers in classrooms. Not only this but, teachers should also cater to their special needs. Inclusive environments benefit both parties as learning improves. However, schools and teachers need to remember that they need to put in extra effort for these children with learning disorders so they can excel alongside their peers. Below, we will talk about six ways teachers and schools can help children with learning disorders.
Creative Learning Environment
Teachers and schools must create a learning environment for special needs students that is creative and easy to understand. If teachers use personalized teaching lessons, the classroom will be a fun place to learn and grow for everyone. However, for many teachers, coming up with a suitable curriculum for all the students may seem challenging. These teachers can polish up their skills by advancing their education. For example, they can opt for an online Special Education Masters program and further improve their skills while staying in the comfort of their homes. Once they gain more knowledge, they can smoothly implement a better and more creative learning environment. Another way special needs students can learn better is through visual aids. Using graphic and colorful visual aids, such as graphs, bold pictures, and charts enables progressive learning. It allows the students to understand and learn better.
Focus on Student’s Strengths
An essential factor motivating special needs students to learn better is their interest in a particular subject. If students have a keen interest in any topic, they will study it with more focus and passion. Teachers can start by asking students what they like or gauge their strengths. They can also ask parents or previous teachers. Once you find out what a student prefers, you can specifically draw a personalized lesson plan for them. These students will usually excel in a topic if that curriculum was just for them, and it catered to their needs or likes.
You can also design different strategies that cater to their strengths. For example, you can create dozens of projects and come up with several ideas by combining a student’s learning disorder with their skills and abilities.
Utilize Technological Advancements
Using computer-based programs will engage students to learn better and with more interest. These programs offer visual learning and assessments that work best for children with learning disorders. These images can be customized for each student with different lesson plans. Using such programs also gives teachers and students the advantage to easily share a customized lesson that suits the interests of many students. Teachers should learn about the different available apps, which can help make learning simple.
There are many alternatives students can use with the help of technology in case of a learning deficit. If, for example, a student is tech-savvy but cannot communicate well, they can change that with technology. They can use an alternative augmentative communication app that can enable them to create a synthesized voice to speak for them.
Ensure Easy Communication
One of the most important things a teacher should practice with their special needs students is smooth communication. They must ensure that the students can easily comprehend what they are saying. If the students do not understand, they will have more difficulty learning. It is why teachers must learn effective and thorough communication skills. These skills include verbal as well as non-verbal communication. Sometimes explaining with gestures is simpler than with words. Teachers should also ensure that their instructions are easy to follow and comprehensive. They can also confirm if the students understand and repeat the instructions multiple times if someone seems confused.
Encourage Social Skills
Teachers should encourage special needs students to build a strong and supportive social network. Students with special needs, in most cases, find it hard to connect with their peers. Due to this, their teachers have an added responsibility to observe and pair them up with classmates who bring out the best in them. These can be peers with whom they are most comfortable. Using peer-tutoring and other social learning techniques, students with special needs can be less socially awkward and learn better. Teachers of such students also need to encourage them on minor achievements. They need to be taught social skills like taking turns while speaking, raising a hand before speaking, and sharing knowledge and belongings. In addition, the classmates should be aware of the negative behavior of their fellow peers. It would help them understand that special students have behavioral changes according to their moods and will help them react accordingly.
Consider Environmental Concerns
Teachers need to understand that special students have a few triggers that can cause them to be disruptive. These triggers are usually environmental, such as bright lights, changes in temperature, and loud noises. Teachers need to be aware of the tiniest things that would trigger their special needs students and eradicate them or stop them from happening daily. Changes in classrooms should be according to the strengths and weaknesses of every student. It would help them focus better and provide them with distractions to work more efficiently, without any behavioral problems. They should make sure that the ventilation in the classroom is constant and temperature is maintained throughout. The sound of the bell at the end of every period can also be a trigger for some students. Thus, it is necessary that after consulting with the school administration, teachers should eliminate this custom. Teachers should also avoid using a high tone while addressing students with disabilities, as it can be a trigger that can create an outburst.
Teaching students with learning disorders may be challenging. However, in the end, the teaching experience is also a rewarding and positive one. Teachers need to remember that these students need time, patience, and attention to succeed. Once the student learns a skill, they will apply it everywhere throughout their life. They discover how to be independent, improve their learning deficits, and grow up as fine individuals.