The fundamental rule of imparting special education to children with special learning needs is to accept the child ‘at his or her individual’ level and to design a learning program best suited to the strengths of the individual.
In order to meet this goal, it is imperative for parents and care-givers of children with special needs and heads of special schools to hire good SEN teachers who will be instrumental in achieving the all round development of the learners.
Learning about the 5 essential qualities of a good special educator brings you that much closer to your goal of hiring the best candidate: read on to find out what these are!
1. A good special needs teacher must possess industry certifications in order to plan, implement and improve on group teaching and 1:1 teaching programs, according to the needs of a school or individual curriculum, as the case may be. Thus, a licensed or experienced special education needs (SEN) teacher will have the knowledge and qualifications required to base the framework of an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) on the current level of learning of a child and set correct objectives for a learner in her care, which is what is required to facilitate optimum training programs.
2. Good SEN teachers focus on assessing the social skills, learning behaviour and positive reinforcers that help a particular child with special learning needs pick up educationally relevant and individually needed functional skill-sets to become a well-adjusted, capable individual.
3. A good special educator will see to all aspects of a child’s special education needs, including performance in motor, self-help, socialization and language skills besides improving scholastic functioning. To develop these functional skills to a satisfactory level, a dedicated SEN teacher will work in a consistent manner to help the special child achieve these to the best of his or her ability, before moving on to developing pre-vocational and vocational skills according to observations they’ve made of the child’s interest, aptitude and skill levels.
4. Empathy, enthusiasm and experience are must-have personality traits in a special educator. So, apart from the above qualities, look for a SEN teacher (or bright teaching assistant who can be groomed into a good SEN teacher with the right training or in-service program) with a keen interest in analyzing schooling instructional methods, the child’s achievement records and behaviour patterns as well as IQ test results. A good special educator will combine these aspects with the priority needs and interests of the child and work on designing a child-centric educational plan.
5. Finally, it is very important to choose a professional who encourages and uses parental involvement for helping a special needs learner move closer to a particular goal as much as she values innovation and use of a variety of strategies for evolving an IEP that benefits a child with special needs.