The population of children with SEN is growing and this has led to an increasing number of teachers, coaches, instructors and adults in general adopting new methods of communication with children who have special needs. Teachers are likely to experience teaching a child with special needs at some stage which further increases the necessity for appropriate teaching methods to be adopted.
It is also important to have a thorough knowledge of the impact special needs can have on learning capabilities. Here are some essential tips for anyone who is preparing to work a child who has SEN…
Many children with special needs will avoid telling people of their discomfort, so it may be necessary to rely on observation to get an idea of whether they are coping well or not. Keep an eye on their communication with fellow students and see whether their behaviour is affected by struggles associated with work.
In some cases, the child may be looking to communicate with you without actually talking about it, so you need to provide them with extra care and attention at all times. If you can’t quite work out the problems behind the child’s difficulties, speak to their parents or carers or alternatively pursue advice from someone with experience working with SEN pupils.
Introduce a Flexible Method of Teaching
It is quite common for people to rebuff any opportunity to adjust the way they teach to suit their audience, with some not prepared to change the way they do things to accommodate one person in the group. This is fair enough but in the event of teaching a pupil with SEN, it is important that you are flexible enough to teach them so that their full potential can be reached.
Teaching is all about testing the waters and helping people understand new skills. Some children with SEN may have difficulty using motor skills to participate, so you should adapt to this and offer alternatives to activities that require motor skills.
It’s all about making as much sense as possible to all the pupils, so make sure you are not neglecting someone for failing to contribute properly.
Always Be Positive
Anyone who works with children who have special needs will find it much easier to operate effectively if they adopt a positive attitude and mind-set at all times.
There are some cases where even trained specialists will struggle to work with children who have SEN because they adopt a negative attitude. In other cases, someone with very little experience in teaching children with SEN has had a hugely positive impact thanks to the attitude.
Failure to interact with someone who has SEN can often be the downfall of a productive relationship between the adult and the child.
A child with SEN in a classroom of many pupils may feel alone or abandoned without additional care and support. It is very important that you use what you have observed of their behaviour and capabilities and sit down with them often to discuss how can benefit their development.
Alternatively, you should move them closer to the front of the classroom so that any instructions you provide are much clearer and more likely to be understood. Someone in your position should also be prepared to guide the child with SEN outside of the classroom so that they interact just as well in the playground for instance.
Article provided by Axcis Recruitment, an education recruitment company established in 2001 and specialising in providing high quality supply, medium-term and permanent teaching roles.