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In-Depth Jobs


Issue no 23, 04-10 September 2021

Special Education A High Impact Career

 

Nidhi Prasad

India has achieved a milestone by passing a special education law, namely, Persons with Disabilities Act of 1995 (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) which seeks to provide schooling and facilities to all children. Indian families usually face many challenges in caring for and educating their children with different special needs. Therefore, a number of special needs schools are making a positive difference. They are providing appreciable educational services and support for special needs children and their parents.

However, it is also a fact that these schools are not always accessible or affordable for all families. Well, the educational environment in India is focusing on the families for special education and special schools and is working to implement an inclusive special education system for achieving the goal of universal education. The Indian government is trying to implement special education services in all government schools. As per the evaluation techniques for children with special needs (CWSN) chalked out by the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), the special educators are supposed to make special kids not only physically comfortable in class but also change their teaching methods for their sake. It has been seen that there are a number of tailor-made teaching aids in class meant just for special kids. A person or a student with any kind of disability can easily conquer the world by their hard-work and skills. For this, they should be given special opportunities without any terms and conditions.

What is Special Education?

Special education is also called special needs education. Special education can be defined as personalized schooling given to children with diverse disabilities, whether they are physical, mental or developmental.

It refers to domain in which a range of services is provided in different ways and in different settings. There's no "one size fits all" approach to special education. It's tailored to meet the needs of students with disabilities. It focuses on helping kids with disabilities learning.

Special education programs are designed for those students who are mentally, physically, socially and/or emotionally delayed. This aspect of "delay," broadly categorized as a developmental delay, signifies an aspect of the child's overall development (physical, cognitive, scholastic skills). Special education programs and services adapt content, teaching methodology and delivery instruction to meet the appropriate needs of each child.

Importance of Education For Special Children

With the advent of modernization, the trend and the technology have changed, but the way of thinking of people still remains the same. Society often neglects the children and the people that have some kind of learning disabilities.

 

The special classes organized for these disabled or differently gifted children have become a necessity. It allows the students to enjoy the education and gain confidence due to individual learning. For the personal growth and development of the special children, it is important for all of them to receive proper education. The disability cases could include emotional, mental, physical or developmental. There are multiple numbers of impairments that a student could go through, like, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Multiple Disabilities, Developmental Delay, Traumatic Brain Injury, Orthopaedic Impairment, Speech and Language Impairment, Visual and hearing Impairment (including blindness) and many more.

Therefore, it is necessary for the specially disabled children to maintain the pace in the learning process with the children that do not have any special need, as they have the right to fulfill the requirements and explore their own potential regardless of any disability.

How to Become A Special Educator

After your graduation, you can take B.Ed (Special Education) with specialisation in multiple disabilities or in specific areas. B.Ed in Special Education is a bachelor level program which is a teaching training program. The aim of this course is to train teachers with the required skill set for teaching students with disabilities.

Some Colleges also offer integrated 4 years duration Dual Degree Programmes in Special Education.

·         B.A.-B.Ed. (Bachelor of Arts-Bachelor of Education) Special Education

·         B.Sc.-B.Ed. (Bachelor of Science Bachelor of Education) Special Education

·         B.Com.-B.Ed. (Bachelor of Commerce- Bachelor of Education) Special Education

For further specialization in this field, you can take up M. Ed (Special Education) which is a 2 years course. This course can be taken up after a B. Ed in special education or after taking a general B. Ed degree along with a diploma in special education from an institute recognised by the Rehabilitation Council according to their needs of India.

Some Institutes in India for pursuing B.Ed. in Special Education: Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University (Delhi), Indian Institute of Health Education and Research (Bihar), Jamia Millia Islamia (New Delhi), Kurukshetra University (Kurukshetra), Banaras Hindu University (Uttar Pradesh) etc.

 

What Does Special Educator Do?

If a child can't learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn ~ Ignacio Estrada

A special education teacher is a professional responsible for teaching students with special needs. He or she provides learning support to students determining their capabilities and capacities.

In Special Schools, you work as a Special Educator. As a Special Educator, you have to deal with children with physical, emotional, and mental challenges and learning disabilities. You will work closely with their families to achieve the best educational outcome for them, teach them basic life and social skills for their personality development, and make them understand academic concepts through personalized one-to one sessions.

A special education teacher assesses the progress of students. He or she collaborates with school psychologists, learning disabilities specialists, classroom teachers and parents. A special education teacher keeps updating students' parents on their progress.

Special Educator Work Involves:

·         Teaching students and facilitating academic and non-academic activities

·         Observing students' special requirements and making study plans according to their needs

·         Administering tests to help determine children's developmental levels, needs, or potential

·         Giving attention to the physical and psychological performance of the students

·         Assessing the improvements of each student and implementing new teaching methods

·         Facilitating indoor and outdoor activities of students and encouraging creative mode of learning

·         Meeting parents to discuss about the performance of students and taking appropriate steps on the basis of discussions

·         Mentoring and supervising other teachers who are working in the school, with students with special needs

·         Monitoring the hygiene of students and cleanliness of surroundings

 

Types of Special Education Teacher

There are various types of special education teacher in India. If you wish to opt for a career as a special education teacher, you may specialise in various disorders such as autism, behavioural, blindness and other disorders to teach students with their best abilities.

 

Emotional or Behavioural Disorder Special Educator: A special educator with a specialisation in emotional or behavioural disorder provides support in learning to students suffering from a diverse range of characteristics. It may include anxiety disorders, depression, hyperactivity disorder, attention deficit or numerous other behavioural disorders.

Autism Spectrum Disorder Special Educator: A special educator with a specialisation in autism spectrum provides learning support to students identified on the autism spectrum. It may cause communication delays, inability to correlate circumstances and other things.

Special Educator in College: A special educator possessing an M.Ed. in special education provides learning support to students with special needs studying in colleges or high schools.

Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor: This job entails assisting older students in overcoming various disabilities to seek jobs.

Skills Required

Special education teacher requires a love for kids, empathy for parents dealing with difficult kids and a good sense of humour. Main attribute required for this career is patience and dedication. Having the innate desire to help others is also important in this profession. Like any other teachers, special education teachers must be organized and able to motivate students. A special educator should be enthusiastic and energetic with a positive mindset.

 

Special education teacher must possess following skills besides a bachelor's degree in special education

Critical thinking: special education. Critical thinking: A special education teacher is a professional responsible for evaluating students' progress. He or she determines various methods to improve the learning experience of students with special needs.

Patience: A special education educator must possess patience as a characteristic. Students with special needs may take more time in learning and understanding a concept as compared to students without special needs. A special education teacher requires understanding that students are not always immediately responsive.

Communication Skills: A special education teacher must possess excellent communication skills. He or she should be able to communicate clearly with parents, teachers, administrators and children.

Problem Solving Ability: A special education teacher must be able to identify the problems. He or she should be able to determine the strength and weakness of alternative solutions. Special educator should focus on highlighting the learning strengths of every single child.

Career Opportunities

The number of students requiring special education services has grown steadily in recent years as these disabilities are diagnosed at earlier ages and more and more specialised schools are coming up. This has increased the demand for specially trained teachers.

 

Special educators can get jobs in schools that work only with children with diverse disabilities. They can also get employment in inclusive schools that enrol children with special needs in their classrooms.

Special educators who mastered in several techniques of special education can get associated with consultants attached with schools or start their own therapy centres after acquiring necessary certifications.

Special educators use braille to pupils with visual impairments or sign language and lip reading to students who have hearing impairments. With development in technology, they are using various audio-visual materials and computers to stimulate interest in learning.Jobs for special educators are available in both government and private sector either with a group of students or on the individual basis. They can also find employment in rehabilitation centres.

Internships

Internships play a crucial role in the initial level of career development. It brings industry insights and learning opportunities. A special education teaching intern is required to develop, implement and evaluate the curriculum designed for special students. He or she is responsible for providing the necessary information to the classroom teacher. A special education teaching intern is required to collaborate with the class teacher in adapting curriculum and making necessary modifications. He or she ensures the implementation of modifications in the syllabus and assesses overall progress of the child.

 

Mentioned below certifications that individuals may opt for who want to establish a career as a Special Education Teacher.

·         Teacher Development: Embedding Mental Health in the Curriculum

·         Teaching for Success: Lessons and Teaching

·         Using Technology in Evidence-Based Teaching and Learning

·         Developing Expert Educators for Healthcare Professions

·         Education Research that Matters: Applying Research to Your Teaching Practice

Top Recruiters

Special educators can find employment in:

 

·         Schools for Disabled Children

·         Special Educator Teacher in B.Ed Colleges

·         Rehabilitation Centers

·         Hospitals that treat Children with Special Needs

·         Consultancies that provide Special Education Trainers to Schools

After the Ministry of Human Resource Development issued directions about the proper professional special education training, the SSA can hire the inclusive education resource teachers (IERTs). But due to the rising number of the early interventions of the special needs among children nowadays, other teachers have to undergo training in special education which is only an introductory session on the needs of children with special needs. This issue is highlighting the insufficient number of trained special education teachers.

No career is cut and dry for those working in the field of special education. Just be sure to take the time to assess your interests, leverage your skills and knowledge, and then put them into practice to improve your career prospects in special education.

A career in special education promises a profession that is both challenging and rewarding. Rewarding in the sense that you will be making a difference in someone's life, assisting them in coping in the real world, making the children as well as their families happy and challenging because as a special education teacher, you will be playing a special role in teaching children the intellectual and emotional skills they need to cope with everyday life.

(The author is Counseling Psychologist & Career Consultant, she can be reached at nidhiprasadcs@gmail.com) Views expressed are personal Image Courtesy : Google