Frequently Asked Questions
#1. What does special education mean?
For the sake of clarity, we will call it Management of children with special needs. This includes education as well as any other related therapy, like occupational therapy, speech & language therapy and/or sensory integration therapy. Management has 2 aspects – intervention and accommodation. Intervention is when professionals work towards improving a deficit skill in a child. For e.g., a child has reading difficulties and the trained special educator works on his/her phonological awareness. Accommodation is when the deficit is bypassed or ‘ignored’ in a classroom set up. In the same e.g. above the spelling errors of the child are ignored by the teacher and the content is focused upon.
#2. Special education doesn’t include finishing incomplete classwork, right?
The focus of special education is always to bridge the gap between actual performance and expected performance. If the special educator does only completing the incomplete work then the gap remains as it or widens further. For incomplete work there are other accommodations a teacher can adopt, like, the buddy system to write for the child, photocopying the notes or sending books home to be completed.
#3. Being a teacher i have to look after the whole class and not just one child in my class. Why should other children ‘suffer’?
As a class / subject teacher you are not expected to do special education with the child. For the most important reason that you are not a trained special educator (unless you have had training). However, all teachers are expected to be sensitive to the learning needs of all children in the class. A smile, a pat and a few motivating words of praise can go a long way in giving the special child a sense of belonging to the class. As a general education teacher you are expected to accommodate a child with extra time, less workload, modified curriculum and so on. Even CBSE / ICSE (and other education boards) allow it.
#4. My school doesn’t allow accommodations to be given. What can i do?
All schools since the Right to Education Act 2010 are expected to cater to the needs of all children. All schools are expected to be inclusive. In case it refuses the parent can take the school to court and/or complain to CBSE which might result in compromising the CBSE accreditation of the school.
#5. Can i, as a regular teacher, become a special educator?
Yes, there are courses available for professional development which will ‘make’ you a special educator. Thereafter it’s for you to decide whether you want to work as a general education teacher or a special educator.
#6. If i do a course in special education can i take tuitions?
For the sake of clarity, please understand that special education is not tuition. You can take tuitions even as a regular education teacher but to take remedial intervention classes you need to be a special educator. Once trained you can take remedial sessions in school or even outside school.