A new cadre of student teachers start their special education placements this week. Teaching a classroom of students with a multitude of needs is difficult for the most experienced teacher. So, for novice teachers, it can be overwhelming. But there are some effective special education strategies that student teachers can add to their toolbox to help meet the needs of their new students. However, since student needs vary widely; flexibility is key.
Check out the list of strategies to try with your students that need support with communication/language, social/emotional growth and physical /motor development. For some kids, the recipe for success may change daily. Thank you for working so hard to help all kids shine!
Communication and Language
- Provide verbal prompts for vocabulary words or responses.
- Increase complexity of words in language and content.
- Use letters of alphabet as they come up in real life situations.
- Allow children to demonstrate understanding in multiple ways (pointing, using visuals, communication boards or devices, own words, pointing.
- Understand that some children may speak languages other than English (LOTE) and identify and explain patterns of spoken English.
- Allow calming breaks for focusing (quiet area, place to move, “special helper”)
- Provide transition sensory support (squeeze ball, sensory items, weighted blankets, seat cushions)
- Identify and discuss feelings.
- Support transitions (visual and verbal cues, songs)
- Consider child’s seating.
- Model coping feelings
- Establish one-on-one time for teacher/student meetings.
- Intervene as needed (resolving conflict, problem solving, making friends)
- Adjust environment (lighting, noise, materials, soft music, distractions)
- Allow extra time.
- Enhance visual clarity or distinctiveness (special lighting)
- Ensure accessibility and ease of handling – Talk to Physical and Occupational Therapist for ideas.
- Provide opportunities for pincer grasp (thumb/forefinger) Gluing, small crayons, picking up small objects.
- Allow students to explore sensory needs with sensory items (glue, paint, clay, silly putty)
Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.