The term special education is used interchangeably with special needs and disabilities. The general philosophy of special education is that every child has the right to the same opportunities and facilities as others, regardless of their learning inabilities. It gives them a chance to get quality education tailored to their unique needs, enabling them to gain independence and maximize their potential.
Special education services are gaining importance worldwide, and many countries have developed advanced AI-based systems to improve special education and the quality of life of these children at a broader level.
How to Get Started?
Developing a comprehensive system that caters to varying mental levels and individual needs helps address diversity appropriately. Standardizing the principle of normalization is equally essential, where every child gets access to all the available means and resources without exceptions. Adapting to their particular needs by providing required assistance helps them overcome their personal and social problems and reach the highest level of integration with their peers.
There are many ways to ensure that people with disabilities achieve full integration and participation in society by gaining access to equal opportunities in education, employment, and community living. Let’s dive in to learn about the most effective ways that can bring significant improvement in their lives:
- Train the Teachers:
The first and foremost is the training of teachers. Institutions need to emphasize inculcating a form of instruction designed specifically to meet the needs of students with disabilities so that they learn the same skills and knowledge as other children.
To well-equip teachers with the required tools and expertise for providing person-centered education and enable them better adapt lessons to the varying learning levels and styles, a special education degree can help. By pursuing a professional degree, teachers develop different skills.
Their solid analytical skills help build spaces and offer solutions through which students get physical and emotional support. With strong communication skills, they can convey information clearly and concisely. Exceptional educational professionals develop patience, allowing students to learn and work at their own pace and ventilate emotions.
- Make Use of Artificial Intelligence:
Educational applications based on AI are highly personalized. They can identify problems like the child’s attention span, learning speed, hearing, and speech disabilities, thereby devising AI-based adaptive learning methods according to their needs and understanding. On the one hand, they lack the opportunity to connect with peers; on the other; they can know whatever they want without any time and location constraints.
The primary motive of AI-based tools is to develop an educational environment where children understand things easily and quickly through interactive learning with an increased attention span.
- Make Small Groups:
Form small groups of two to three students according to their mental level, learning ability, strengths, and talents within the learning environment. This makes teachers well-positioned to personalize content to align better with students’ needs and improve student achievements.
This organization helps run different groups effectively by providing reinforcement opportunities for low-performing students and advanced content for high-performing students. Students in this setting can learn faster through collaboration with peers having the same abilities.
- Inclusion of Intensive and Explicit Support:
Special education differs from general education because it is more explicit, intensive, systematic, and supportive. Students get more chances to interact and collaborate with purposeful and well-organized instructional material, improving their learning experience.
Programmatic scaffolding is a key to special education, where students get more support and help at the beginning, which gradually decreases as they acquire the ability to learn independently. Instructions should vary depending on the levels of disabilities ranging from mild to severe.
For mild disabilities, explicit instructional methods designed with guided activities work best with a focus on foundational skills and regular progress monitoring. Instructions for students with severe disabilities should be systematic, meaningful, and functional.
- Parental Involvement:
Parents thoroughly understand their child’s physical, social, and developmental needs. Their participation in the education process can significantly improve the outcomes since they know the child’s strengths and weaknesses, background history, and all the necessary information that may impact their learning.
They must collaborate with teachers to ensure their involvement in decision-making and give input on all aspects of their child’s education. This two-way communication, where listening to teachers’ observations to practice what they suggest at home and having the teachers hear your thoughts to follow them at school, can bring out the best in a child’s overall personality development.
- Access to Additional Resources:
Providing additional resources and teaching material for each subject is essential to cater to different proficiency levels. It helps maximize learning and boosts confidence by minimizing frustration from the inability to understand things. Regardless of the severity of inabilities, structuring classes with necessary adjustments in line with individual needs can significantly enhance learning outcomes.
Giving access to resources doesn’t mean compromising on quality instruction time. Unambiguous teaching is a must in instructing students what to do, providing means to practice, giving regular feedback, and then providing opportunities to practice the learned skills over time.
- Direct Instruction Method:
The direct instruction method is highly distinguishable from other instructional models due to its focus on effective instruction delivery and curriculum design. The guiding principles include that every child can learn if taught explicitly and that anyone can lead if provided with professionally designed programs and instructional delivery techniques.
The purpose is to achieve more in less time by accelerating student learning through carefully controlled instructional processes. Providing clear directions on how to structure active student responses and teacher feedback to adjust the rate of instruction to ensure good practice and mastery, these modifications take time and energy to complete.
- Provide Emotional, Behavioral, and Social Support:
Addressing students’ emotional, behavioral and social needs and developing necessary skills is critical. These skills enable students to deal with life challenges, communicate with others, and resolve conflicts in addition to academic success. If not focused on time, it’s hard for students to learn and for teachers to teach.
Many institutions tried to cater to these needs by recruiting counselors, social workers, and paraprofessionals. They play an integral role in special education by mentoring teachers, guiding parents, and directly supporting students.
Access to quality education is a human right that must be guaranteed for every child, regardless of disabilities. It depends on the training of teachers and the medium of instruction. Institutions can achieve maximum benefits through individualization, which refers to developing education based on individual needs followed by progress monitoring and regular feedback.