Teaching

Challenges Educators Face in Teaching Basic Skills to Kids with Severe Disabilities

Teaching kids is a challenging enough task that becomes even more complex when they have severe disabilities. Special needs teachers face almost insurmountable difficulties in conveying essential knowledge and skills to students with learning barriers. It can be a frustrating process for students, teachers, and parents. Nevertheless, teaching basic skills is essential for a student’s … Continued

Teaching kids is a challenging enough task that becomes even more complex when they have severe disabilities. Special needs teachers face almost insurmountable difficulties in conveying essential knowledge and skills to students with learning barriers. It can be a frustrating process for students, teachers, and parents.

Nevertheless, teaching basic skills is essential for a student’s future and living independently when they grow up. Therefore, teachers cannot give up in the face of these challenges. Here are some examples of why this task is so demanding of educators:

Lack of resources

Most teaching resources cater to mainstream learners, and teachers have many options when choosing which ones will work best. However, special needs teachers do not have that luxury, with limited resources available to them. Fortunately, resources for special needs educators are available from SpedTrack, which aims to simplify special education.

Having the necessary resources to help students with learning barriers learn basic skills is essential for special needs teachers if they want to make their lessons impactful and memorable. Educators often have to search for such resources themselves as their school districts do not make them available or limit how many there are.

Diversity of challenges

Special needs educators face another significant test in teaching basic skills as they have students with various learning barriers. Teaching a child with physical challenges is different from teaching a child with a mental disability or a cognitive issue like autism. These students are often lumped into the special needs category and put in a classroom with one teacher.

The educator needs to differentiate their approach to ensure that their lessons remain inclusive and get to each student’s level to understand the skills being taught. This requires intensive preparation, sometimes of several lesson plans to teach the same content or skill.

Engaging learners

Keeping students with learning barriers engaged in a classroom setting poses many challenges for a teacher. Most of them have difficulty remaining focused on the lesson and remain easily distracted. Therefore, a child with cerebral palsy who struggles to stay seated still will draw other students’ attention, and getting it back onto the matter at hand becomes difficult.

An educator needs to maintain eye contact with students to ensure their attention is on the lesson and skill being taught. This takes time and training. Indeed, it is one of the first obstacles a special needs teacher needs to overcome: ensuring learners know when to pay attention and concentrate.

Conveying the message

Most learners with barriers tend to understand concepts and skills better when seeing them in action. A special needs teacher cannot impart knowledge by talking about it. Instead, they need to model it for their students. Additionally, special needs students need far more reinforcement and repetition than their mainstream counterparts.

These children need to see and hear things again and again before they comprehend them. It can become frustrating for the teacher, who must never allow this to cloud their teaching, remaining patient and positive throughout the lesson.

Time

Special needs teachers have a curriculum to complete but sticking to timeframes is impossible when conveying content takes longer than anticipated. The educator cannot abandon teaching a skill to move on to another because the curriculum dictates it. However, that is precisely what they are expected to do in many instances.

Many supervisors and administrators do not have special needs qualifications and do not understand the complexities of teaching students with learning barriers. Therefore, they become frustrated with teachers who are not getting through a curriculum’s content. Only when they understand the special needs education context can they understand and make allowances for these teachers and students.

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