How to Teach Special Education


Special education addresses to students that have special needs and involves individually planned teaching techniques. The process requires an accessible setting, adapted materials and an intervention plan especially designed for each individual. Special needs learners are taught to achieve a level of self sufficiency so that they can have access to a normal education. Most common needs are related to communication challenges, learning, behavioral, emotional and physical disabilities. Special needs students require additional educational services like a multi-modal approach with visual, kinesthetic and auditory approaches. The strategy utilized is chosen by educators that know how to teach special education. It is essential for teachers to subscribe to education magazines that feature special education articles so that they can keep in touch with the latest teaching standards. Innovations play an important part in special education as nowadays, there are numerous gadgets on the market which can make special education classes more interactive and productive.

The children

The Pupil Level Annual Schools Census (PLASC) classifies the children with special needs into two categories, SLD or severe learning difficulties and PMLD, profound and multiple learning difficulties. Research literature refers to three major groupings. Educators learn how to teach special education depending on the nature of the impairment. Children with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) have specific speech and or language problems. They have difficulties expressing themselves normally without having any physical or sensory anomalies. Children with communication and interaction difficulties associated with severe learning disabilities have atypical or non-verbal means of interactions with the surrounding environment. The aim is to teach the basic cognitive processes that will enable an active participation in learning. Children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD) have a broad range of developmental disorders characterized by impaired communication and social interaction.

Theoretical perspectives

Based on what we read in special education articles, we can draw some conclusions regarding the theoretical perspectives of special education. Constructivist approaches of learning seek to help the special needs individuals gain a higher degree of understanding and a more flexible way of making use of their knowledge so they can make sense of the world. The behavioural models use the principles of reinforcement theory in the learning process. The ecological perspective focuses on interactions between learner and teacher rather than concentrating on the learner. Models or “nested systems” like bio, micro, chrono and macro-systems situate the student in the center. He interacts with parts of a larger system, like the classroom – a micro level.


The methods used in different approaches are determined by the educator’s background. The person that knows how to teach special education can have experience in teaching, neurophysiology or clinical therapy. The behavioural methods involve task or skill specific reinforcement, shaping and imitation, with the results measured and defined. The developmental perspective analyzes the different developmental stages that the learner passes. Interactionist or experiential learning approach encourages a meaningful development of relationships with people and the environment, using communicative strategies with increasing difficulty levels. The cognitive method aims to develop cognitive processes that improve auditory memory, semantics, grammar and thinking.