Learning disabilities may make life more difficult, but they do not have to stop children from achieving their goals. Good special education programs will recognize that all children are different and provide specialized support tailored to their specific needs while still allowing them a degree of independence and opportunities to show their abilities.
Special education programs for elementary schoolers
The process of helping children with learning difficulties grow and achieve their potential starts as soon as their education begins. For example, smaller group sizes allow each student to receive personalized attention. This will make it easier for teachers to assess students’ needs and identify the areas where they are strongest and the areas where they need extra help. Some students may even need one-on-one support.
Scheduling is another important way that children’s potential can be maximized. Ensuring that they have adequate breaks and playtime will burn off excess energy and help them focus when they are in the classroom. Children also work better when they are not hungry, so snacks and a proper lunchtime are important.
Traditionally, the most basic functional skills are literacy and numeracy, and children with learning disabilities may need extra help in these areas. In the modern world, digital literacy is also important and should be covered in special education. Assistive technology is also available to help with other basic skills, such as reading and writing.
Many students with learning disabilities need help socially as well as academically. Children should also learn about interacting with others, working in a group and responding to societal expectations while in a special education classroom.
Special education for high schoolers
Special education can continue for older children, who may have grasped some of the basics but still need more time and support to learn new concepts than other teens. Again, small groups and reliable, structured timetables are important to help children focus and provide them with the kind of specialist support they need.
Young adults with learning disabilities may still need help with functional and social skills, but they may also want to prepare for adulthood, whether it’s in independent or supported living. This means learning the organizational skills needed for household and budget management and more targeted social education to prepare them for outside environments such as the workplace. They may also want to make plans regarding further education, training or employment.
To help children further expand their education and achieve even more, they may want more support outside of the classroom. This may involve one-on-one tutoring, lunch and after-school clubs or summer camp. These can involve more specific topics or allow children to develop special interests in subjects such as music, science or sport. They may also include games that have an educational value.
These programs are designed with the child in mind. They provide the kind of support that may not be available in a mainstream school while allowing the child to grow and thrive, embracing their potential. From class size and structure to special courses in everything from functional skills to social interaction, special education programs rethink what a child with learning difficulties may need from school.
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