Special Education, as the name suggests caters to the education of children with special needs (or children with disabilities). It is an individualized system of education that helps children with special needs to access learning and achieve their potential. Here, let’s look into the most common disabilities that benefit from special education.
What are the 5 most common disabilities that benefit from special education?
Children with disabilities learn differently and have problems with learning when compared to children of the same age group. Such children require education tailored to their individual differences and level of learning potential. Special education attends precisely to their specific skill needs with individualized education programs. Few common disabilities that require special education are as follows:-
Children with Intellectual Disability have low IQ(below 70). They have difficulties in communication, social skills and adaptive skills and the rate of development is slower than that of a typical child. These children have difficulty in memory, attention and understanding abstract concepts. This results in learning slowly.
Special education helps them with
- Simple and direct instructions
- Breaking down the task into simpler steps
- Model the steps to help learn easily
- Visualizing concepts using concrete objects
Specific Learning Disability
Specific learning disability is a condition that is caused by certain differences in the brain. These differences impact the way the brain processes information and it affects a child’s reading, writing, spelling and math. Specific learning disability is not a result of intellectual disability, emotional problems, visual or hearing impairments and is often identified in school. When identified early, timely and proper support can be provided to help the child manage the condition.
Special education provides,
- Individual instruction on reading, spelling or math (based on child’s skill need)
- Present concepts in different ways
- Provide alternate ways to present what was learnt (for example, a child with Dysgraphia (difficulty in writing) is encouraged to give assignments in typed format)
This category refers to those children whose IQ does not fall in the range of Intellectual Disability or average IQ. Their IQ lies between 70 and 85. These children develop and learn at a rate slower than that of their peers and have poor social skills. They find it difficult to interact with peers and can relate more with those of a younger age group. They have trouble understanding, retaining and recalling information that is taught to them.
In special education
- A distraction free environment is provided
- Tasks are broken down and taught in a simplified manner
- The concepts are presented in multiple ways and practiced repeatedly to help them learn and remember
Cerebral Palsy is caused by a non-progressive lesion in the brain. This causes a series of movement related disorders that affects a child’s arms, legs, coordination and balance. Cerebral palsy on its own does not affect a person’s IQ. Some children with cerebral palsy may have co-occurring conditions like intellectual disability.
Children with Cerebral Palsy can be educated in a regular school depending on the severity and co-occurring conditions. While some children may require few adaptations in the classroom based on the severity of the condition, some others may need to be educated in a special school.
Special education helps kids with Cerebral Palsy by
- Ensuring comfortable seating and movement within the classroom
- Using assistive technology based on child’s needs
- Providing time to respond
- Facilitating scribe based on need
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder(ADHD)
It is a disorder that causes inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. A child with ADHD may have difficulty concentrating on a task, waiting for their turn and will always be on the go. They also act without thinking and this interferes with their daily functioning. Problems like inattention and hyperactivity can affect the child’s ability to learn and they require special education.
During early years, children with ADHD require behaviour therapy to work on their attention. Some kids may need adaptations in the classroom.
Special education ensures,
- Making the child sit away from distractions (like near a window or door)
- Providing visual schedules
- Providing simple, clear and direct instructions
- Incorporating movement based activities in the classroom
- Rewarding positive behaviour
Benefits of Special Education
Special educators adapt different strategies and use multiple stimuli to elicit a child’s interest and develop his/her learning and memory skills. The many benefits of special education for children with disabilities include,
- Improving social and communication skills
- Improving reading, writing and basic math
- Teaching life skills – essential life skills including self-help, safety and hygiene
- With older children, develops skills that help them at work place
Not all children with disabilities may need special education. This is due to the wide range and different types of conditions that fall under the title disabilities. Some children with disabilities can be placed in regular schools that follow the principle of inclusion. Inclusive education provides an opportunity for children with special needs to not only learn but also socialize with other children. Special education in an inclusive setting can help children with special needs to grow, learn and reach their potential most appropriately.