If a child can?t learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn..!
A special education teacher is someone who works with children and youths who have a variety of disabilities. Children with special needs require unique instruction by specially trained professionals to help them achieve their highest potential and strive to progress beyond their limitations. Special education teachers are patient, understanding educators dedicated to giving each individual student the tools and guidance needed to help them maximize success.
A small number of special education teachers work with students with severe cognitive, emotional, or physical disabilities. Their job is primarily teaching them life skills and basic literacy. However, the majority of special education teachers work with children with mild to moderate disabilities, modifying the general education curriculum to meet the child's individual needs and providing required instruction. Most special education teachers instruct students at the preschool, elementary, middle, and secondary school level, although some work with infants and toddlers.
Lisa Whaley, 8th grade English teacher in Chester County Schools, talks about her experience which would inspire us to pursue our career as a special educator;
I have never doubted that God dropped me on this earth to work with children. My childhood was blessed with a close friend, Kim, who has ataxia severe imbalance. This condition has kept her either in a wheelchair or on crutches for her entire life; it also affects her speech. Anyone who has met Kim knows that she may have a physical disability, but her intelligence is much greater than most. If you can?t remember something, anything, Kim will help you out. She?s a treasure chest of information.
Growing up, Kim and I spent a great deal of time together, as our parents were best of friends. Her parents allowed her to experience life like everyone else, and we went everywhere together. I can remember my family going with Kim?s family on a tent camping trip in the Great Smoky Mountains. As we visited all of the tourist destinations along the way, I noticed that people would stare at her, giving looks of pity.
Upon graduating from high school, I enrolled at Lambuth College with special education as my major. Those smoldering thoughts had given me a mission: I would work with children with disabilities to hopefully make their lives easier and to help the world see that these children are not to be pitied, but to be seen as special gems with a unique value and beauty unlike any other.
For those with learning disabilities, today's tools for differentiation no longer hold the stigma they used to nor highlight disabilities, but provide opportunities to find success in the classroom.