Teaching Strategies and Special Needs Students

Check out our list of tips for teaching strategies and special needs students.

Hear and observe the learner that has no interest in anything. Remain patient and respectful, even if the learner shows no emotion. Develop routines to reach the learner, such as always saying good morning to the learner or complimenting them on something.

Find out as much as possible about each special needs learner, background, and past achievement performance. In many situations, the learners have become frustrated and overwhelmed by school. Go with prior educators and parents about your concerns.

Some of your learners may be “pulled out” of class to receive special services. Work with the educator to schedule the time for your learner to be out of class. Don’t expect the learner to make up what they are missing in your class.

It is your responsibility to make modifications and accommodations in the content areas in which learners have special needs.

In math, accept that some learners may have diverse ways of arriving at the same answer. Remain open to how they solve problems and learn from each other.

Allow the learners to read with peers and use books on tape. Instruct them to summarize the information as they read and ask questions to guide their reading comprehension.

Once writing, allow the learner to tape record their story or dictate their ideas to another person to scribe for them.

Personalize spelling lists so students can move at their own pace. Check for spelling knowledge by requesting they explain the word and use it correctly in a sentence.

Organization is a struggle for some learners. Once learners are young, teach them to return activity to its proper place prior to working on another activity. Work on this skill with older learners by helping them organize their schedules, priorities, and assignments.

Remember simple modifications that work for many learners, particularly learners with learning disabilities. Many of these have been mentioned prior to but are worth repeating: 1. Model processes to use that will help learners to practice and use over time. 2. Present work in small segments. Learners won’t feel overwhelmed or rushed. 3. Allocate additional time for assignments and/or tests, if needed. 4. Present info both auditorily and visually. 5. Utilize graphic organizers to assist learners as they read and write. 6. Give opportunities for extended practice and application. 7. Most importantly, follow the IEP!

Assuming that a “one size does not fit all” attitude to teaching does not meet the needs of all of your learners, conduct a learning styles test. Group learners according to their learning style, which is how they learn best and offer different assignments depending on the learners’ learning styles. As an alternative to one writing assignment for a class of thirty, you may have four or five diverse ways learners can show off what they learned. Include the modifications for your special needs learners in one of the groups. By grouping learners in this manner, labeling will be minimized.

Reflect upon what you teach. Do all learners need to know details about the Spanish American War, the journeys of Odysseus, or the various bird species in a region? Your special needs learners may not be able to remember details, facts, or relationships as well as other learners. Their group may focus on a portion of the learning, a practical part, or a skills-based approach to the learning.

Use appropriate and continual assessments to know your learners’ reading levels and what skills the learners have mastered. Carry a checklist of skills mastered.

Utilize the Internet to look for information, suggestions, and ideas that will help you better understand your learners’ abilities. Look for ways to impact and assess learners with one or more disabilities.

Choose your Reaction!