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Special needs education

Special needs education is more than helping those children that need us. Within a particular section of teaching, special needs education is teaching those students about life.

Special needs education is defined as:

a term used in clinical diagnostic and functional development to describe individuals who require assistance for disabilities that may be medical, mental, or psychological.

Yet, special needs education is broader than that. It can also include gifted students, English Language learners (ELL), and physically impaired.

In many classrooms, teachers with special needs students have to modify lesson plans to meet this need. The program to help special needs education is called Individual Education Plan or Individual Program plan (IP).

However, most special needs students don’t even want to have a special lesson for them. They want to feel as part of the class.

Students with special needs want to have friends and do the activities other students do. Special needs simply identifies the disability not their character.

Yet, at times, other students don’t understand classmates with special needs. It is sad to see how people are scared of what they don’t know.

special needs education

Many times, special needs students are victims of bullying and ridicule. Because of lack of understanding, these students often feel isolated, rejected, and lonely.

What do I see as a bilingual teacher in special needs education?

As a bilingual teacher, I see all my students with the potential to excel at anything. There’s nothing they can’t do.

Special needs students have taught me patience, appreciation, and perseverance. I couldn’t teach if I didn’t have patience.

I couldn’t teach if I didn’t have an appreciation for other cultures, traditions, and ways of thinking. In fact, if I didn’t have perseverance to continue to teach, despite those students who don’t want to learn, then I wouldn’t be able to see the true potential in all students.

It’s hard to see special needs students trying to fit in when others reject them. To see ELL students trying to adapt to the school system while others don’t understand is difficult to see in a school environment.

It’s hard to see gifted children bored because they have mastered all the topics or goals. As a bilingual teacher, the hardest part is to see parents who don’t care about their children.

But what I do see is remarkable special needs students willing to give it a try to study. I see amazing kids that want to excel despite circumstances.

What I do see is that these children have taught me to become a better teacher, a patient person, and an understanding parent. While life can be easy and a breeze for those without disabilities, special needs students have hurdles to overcome everyday. 

Supporting special needs education

Barbara Mascareno

Barbara is an educational writer, teacher, and instructional designer. She loves to write K-12 education content, teaching strategies, bilingual education approaches, and foreign language.

6 Comments

  1. It is such a privilege to work with children with extra challenges. I know I have learned so much from their can-do attitude and extra effort. This is a great post!



    • Thank you Gina and yes you can learn so much from students with learning challenges.



  2. Ang Johnson on at

    Great article! I always think of the movie, “The Other Sister”, and how the 2 young people with learning disabilities had to overcome so much, and had such determination to excel.



    • I haven’t seen that movie yet. I will have to check it out. Thanks for sharing 🙂



  3. kentuckygal50 on at

    Wonderful post! I worked with adults with MR/DD for about four years. It was the most rewarding work I’ve ever done.



    • That’s wonderful! I’m sure your hard work was very rewarding.



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