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What is Special Education?

Special EducationIn the last century alone, children and young adults have experienced the vast benefits that the growing field of special education provides. This field comprises educators, instructors, and mentors who support, teach, and guide individuals who possess special needs. These special needs include behavioral disorders, developmental delays, physical disabilities, social disturbances, academic inefficiencies, and psychological disorders to name a few. Today, almost every school employs a team of professionals that instructs, supports, mentors, and accommodates individuals with special needs. Often, accommodations include one-on-one mentoring, quiet learning environments, condensed and shortened homework assignments, and time extensions for testing procedures. The main role of these accommodations is to facilitate the educational potentials of individuals with special needs.

Training For Special Education

Fortunate for professionals in the field of special education, there is a great variety of job opportunities that is available to individuals of all degree levels. An Associates of Science in Special Education Degree generally takes 1 to 2 years to complete, and it provides students with the skills that they need to work as teachers aides and preschool teachers in special education. The 4-year option is the Bachelor of Science in Special Education Degree, which is the most popular option for educational advancement in this field. Programs for this degree provide individuals with course instruction and hands-on experiences that allow them to work as elementary teachers, intermediate teachers, and high school teachers in schools’ special education departments. Lastly are the master’s and doctorate-level degrees in the field of special education, and they are pursued by bachelor’s degree holders who desire to work as program directors, professional researchers, counselors, psychologists, and college-level professors in the field of special education.

Common Special Education Instructional Methods

Associates, Bachelors, and Masters in Special Education degrees all provide aides, teachers, counselors, and advisors with a variety of instructional methods and programs that enables them to enhance the learning potentials of students with special needs. Those methods and programs include exclusion, inclusion, mainstreaming, and segregation techniques.

1. Exclusion Programs: Exclusion programs involve one-on-one instruction and educational support services for students with special needs that are provided outside of the typical school environment.

2. Inclusion Programs: Inclusion programs, which are more common, involve one-on-one instruction and educational support services that are provided for students with special needs within the same schools and learning institutions that students without special needs learn iin. Typical inclusion programs include physical therapy and language development programs, which are generally offered in separate classrooms.

3. Mainstreaming Programs: Mainstreaming programs are also common, and they entail periodic inclusions of students with special needs within a school’s normal classroom settings. These programs provide students with special needs with opportunities to learn and grow alongside individuals who don’t require academic interventions.

4. Segregation Programs: Segregation programs are provided through both mainstream and separate, isolated schools for students with special needs. When these programs are provided through regular schools, they often involve integration between students with special needs and students without special needs in non-classroom activities, which include intramural athletics and meal times.

Resources for Special Education Professionals

There is no doubt that professionals in the field of special education must possess a substantial amount of skills and creativity as educators and mentors to students with special needs. Fortunately, there are hundreds of resources available to those professionals. Those resources facilitate the ease and quality of educators’ instructional programs and techniques in this field, and they include the following: the International Reading Association, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, the Federal Resource Center for Special Education, Reading Rockets, the National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities, and the Center on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports.

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