Good education is the right of every child around the globe. With the spread of awareness and techniques, the quality of education is also improving. There are various teachers’ training courses to enhance their skills in the classroom. They also hone their skills in dealing with specific challenges, for example, dealing with special children. Not every child is equal in social, mental, and physical capabilities. Some children are weak in various aspects, which include their emotions, cognitive behavior, intellect, vision, hearing, speech or language, neurological issues, etc. Teachers can easily apply inclusion and differentiation techniques in their teaching so that students who learn at different paces can be catered to.
However, some schools are still not meeting the requirements of special education. They struggle to such an extent that it becomes necessary to modify the regular schooling practices to fit their needs. Children with special education needs have certain learning difficulties or disabilities, making learning hard for them. Often, they reach their required learning goals later than other children of their age. Our education systems need to focus on special education by eradicating the problems such as:
- Shortage of Trained Teachers
The requirements of students with special educational needs make it necessary for schools to have trained teachers for this purpose as well. They can hire teachers who have the required education, practice, and training. The existing teachers can also be trained through any easily available authorized online special education courses. Without properly trained teachers, there will be no progress in the education system for the special education needs students. If a teacher does not identify the issue a certain student is facing, how will it be worked upon and fixed? Therefore this should be a mandatory part of any education system.
- Lack of Diagnostic Tools
How will a teacher determine whether the student requires special education without any diagnostic tools? A student catching up slowly is often considered just a weaker student. Similarly, a student finishing the task faster than others will be considered simply a bright student. To sort out this issue, apart from training the teachers, it is also important to have proper diagnostic tools available in the school and which the staff should be able to use efficiently. This will enable the proper identification of special needs students.
Once a proper diagnosis is made, the second important step is to classify the needs and determine the level of attention required. This will help to put students in suitable groups. This will also determine if their needs can be catered to in the regular school environment or if they need to be placed somewhere else with advanced arrangements to properly address their needs.
- Poor SEN (Special Educational Needs) Programs
Even if they identify a student with special needs, education systems do not have enough well-structured programs for them. As mentioned above, some students can be catered to in the regular school environment. Still, sometimes their requirements include special attention along with a well-designed education plan. This also becomes a challenge for the teacher to arrange age, level, or ability-appropriate material for such students.
To address this issue, it would be best if schools could partner up with psychologists (preferably educational psychologists) who can help them develop easy-to-follow inclusion programs to keep such students along. There should be regular meet-ups among the teachers, parents, and psychologists to discuss the progress of the plan and the child so the program can be carried out further or altered if required.
- Parental Support
One of the major problems faced by the special education sector is neither academic nor physical, but rather emotional. There is the problem of denial that comes from the parents or caretakers of the child. Each child is very special for the parents, and often the parents cannot identify educational disabilities and problems as well as the teacher. Telling them that their child has a problem be faced with terror, tears, or even anger. It is even more difficult if the child needs more than an SEN plan.
They do not accept that their child needs more than a normal school environment. So, dealing with parents requires patience as well as technique. It should be the responsibility of staff members who excel in such matters. The parents need to be on board during the whole process as they are the ones providing support at home to the students. No program can be single-handedly successful until and unless the educators and parents/caretakers all work together for the betterment of the child.
- The Stigma of Being an SEN Child
Another major problem that comes with identifying special education needs children is the stigma these children face in schools, families, and playgrounds. The stigma and lack of acceptance can also shatter their self-esteem and confidence. This can significantly hinder their progress. Therefore, in today’s time, we must normalize special education needs among the public. The government should devise policies to spread awareness among the public. Schools should arrange programs to inform students about SEN so that it can receive more acceptance.
It should be kept in mind that every child is unique, no matter what. The children with special education needs just require a little more attention and a little more effort. They might need help with reading, writing, and even comprehending the tasks. For example, those with speech issues might not be able to express themselves or even understand what others are saying. Some might not be able to complete their work efficiently. The issue arises when these problems do not receive proper attention and are not solved adequately. This can cause irritability in the children, their peers, and teachers. This can further lead to misunderstandings, scolding, fights, behavioral issues, etc. Special education is not getting as much attention as it should. This is a situation today that needs to change by gathering more attention. As of today, the SEN sector faces several problems, as stated above. Whether students have weaker abilities or are gifted, in both cases, it would be unfair to push these students along with the rest without understanding and catering to their special needs.