Every school day, students with special needs experience high levels of stress and anxiety, which makes teaching in the classroom a challenge. It is important to create a safe and welcoming learning environment when dealing with special needs children. Here are top tips that will help you create a friendlier and safer learning environment for children with special needs at school.
- Make sure that your classroom is free of distractions and hazards. This includes making sure that there are no cords or other obstacles in the way of students with special needs, and that there are no sharp corners or other things that could hurt them.
- Be prepared to help your students with special needs in the event of an emergency, such as a fire drill or evacuation. If you don’t have an assistant who can assist with this task, make sure you’re ready to do it yourself!
- Practice being inclusive by including all students in group projects and activities as much as possible. Even if they’re working at a slower pace than their classmates or taking longer than others to finish something on time.
- Try not to single out any one student for assistance unless absolutely necessary. For example, if someone is having trouble using their pencil correctly because it’s too small for their hands or fingers (and thus causing them pain or discomfort), then it’s okay (and even helpful) for you to help them find a different instrument so they won’t have further issues during class time! Otherwise though? Just let them do their thing!
- Try not to give students too many rules—if they need more than two or three basic guidelines (such as “no talking while I’m talking”), then they’re probably not ready for your class just yet!
- Don’t forget to break up your lesson plan into manageable chunks that can be completed within a reasonable amount of time!
- Try to make sure that you’re always positive and upbeat when interacting with students. If they’re having trouble with something, don’t get frustrated by it, but instead try to help them out and make sure that they’re able to complete their tasks.
- If you’re having trouble keeping students’ attention, try to keep your lessons interesting by using games and activities that are related to what you’re teaching—this will help them feel more connected with the material!
- Don’t forget: students don’t always learn in the same way as adults do—if they don’t understand something right away, give them some time to mull it over before expecting them to have learned it without any further explanation.
Ultimately, designing a more inclusive classroom environment for children with special needs means rethinking traditional school structures. Design for all approaches encourage educators to design products and processes to complement the abilities of all children in all circumstances. Teachers should work with a team of specialists (such as physical therapists and occupational therapists) who can develop plans to meet the different needs of each individual child — there is no “one system fits all.” The results can be mixed ability classes where teachers plan activities with both high- and low-level learners in mind, opportunities for special needs students to learn with their non-disabled peers and access to special services based on individual student needs.