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The Secrets to Effective Special Education Interventions Revealed

A career in special education can be both challenging and rewarding. Teachers involved in special education are tasked with instructing dynamic, unique children that struggle with disabilities, disorders, or syndromes. These students learn in different ways and at different paces from their peers and require additional attention, compassion, and interaction with reliable, caring teachers. 

Helping special education students learn and develop is not always easy. It can be an overwhelming and delicate situation for many teachers. However, interaction with and teaching special education students, when approached correctly, can be immensely rewarding. By following the helpful suggestions below, teachers will find greater joy in their special education classrooms and better connect with their students.

Be flexible.

Those who teach special education students will face a variety of different, unique challenges every day. To combat outbursts, meltdowns, or high-strung emotions from their students, teachers need to be flexible. They should be able to recognize the causes of distress in their students and be willing to adapt their lessons or schedule to address the needs of their pupils. Teachers should consider planning soothing activities that help students cope with their emotions in the event of a disruption (Banks) and should be willing to accept that interruptions or delays are inevitable and okay.

Be calm.

Because it can be difficult to communicate with, soothe, or connect with students with special needs, teachers must learn how to control their own tempers and stay calm during stressful situations. Maintaining an even temper will prevent teachers from yelling at their students, causing added stress. Staying calm, even when a student is misbehaving or throwing a tantrum, will help diffuse the situation. If students are upset and disruptive, anger from the teacher will make the situation worse. However, when teachers make an effort to be calm and patient with their struggling or disruptive students, they will create a safe, healthy learning environment and maintain order in their classrooms (Saint).

Be compassionate.

Often considered the most important characteristic for any teacher, it is helpful when educators have a love for their job and are compassionate with their students (Saint). Teachers that do not have a love for helping special education children will struggle. However,teachers that enjoy helping these unique students grow and understand academic and social concepts will achieve greater satisfaction from their job and see greater success with their students. When students are confused, upset, or frustrated, it is a compassionate response from their teacher that will soothe them and encourage them to try again (Saint).
Communicate with students’ parents.

According to Jill Eulberg, “developing positive relationships with...students’ parents will make [teachers’] [jobs] easier” . Parents know their childrenand their practical needsbetter than anyone else. When teachers reach out to students’ parents, it helps teachers identify the individual needs of each student. Teachers will also be able to counsel with students’ parents concerning appropriate responses to outbursts, misbehavior, and classroom incidents. As teachers regularly contact parents to let them know about students’ progression, needs, and activities, parents will trust educators, and teachers will create positive, constructive relationships that directly benefit their students.

Maintain a positive attitude.

In any profession, jobs or daily tasks can be difficult to accomplish when one has a negative attitude. Because teachers work closely with challenging students in restricted situations and sometimes have minimal resources, it is easy to become discouraged and upset. However, effective teachers, special education and otherwise, seek to maintain a positive attitude. Having a positive attitude not only helps the instructor give better lessons, positive perspectives also help encourage students who are struggling or frustrated.

To maintain a positive attitude, teachers should focus on the successes in their classroom, including student behavioral improvements, academic achievements, and social successes (Banks). Teachers should not let outside factors negatively affect their school day or the way they treat their students.

Remember people can only complete their tasks or responsibilities when they are healthy, physically and mentally. While special education teachers are tasked with taking care of their students throughout the workday, instructors must take care of themselves as well. Teachers should remember to get appropriate amounts of sleep, stay hydrated, and maintain a healthy, balanced diet. When teachers are healthy, they are happy; when teachers are happy, so are their students.

Develop a routine.

Routines are particularly important for special education students. Adherence to an easy routine mitigates anxiety, confusion, and stress. Having a routine also calms students and makes tantrums and outbursts less likely.

Teachers should remind their special education students of the routine regularly. Frequent reminders, announcements, and encouragement about the routine will create a positive association with the schedule.

Teachers should send practical information concerning the daily routine to parents so that they are aware of the schedule and can encourage their children at home. As teachers collaborate with parents to raise frequent awareness about the schedule, students will feel a greater sense of security in their set routine and will be better equipped to learn in a structured, organized environment.

As special education teachers focus on adaptability, maintain calm, offer compassionate instruction, communicate with students’ parents, focus on positivity, and stick to an organized routine, they will see proven, immeasurable classroom success. Their students will feel safe and secure and more inclined to learn in a conducive environment. As teachers implement these and other proven teaching techniques in their special education classrooms, they will make a positive difference in their communities and schools and in the lives of their students.


Saint Joseph’s University, “Top 10 Traits of a Special Education Teacher,”

Banks, Karla. Medium, McGraw-Hill, “Tips and Tricks From a Special Education Teacher,” 

Eulberg, Jill. Hey, Teach! Western Governors’ University, “6 Tips for a First-Year Special

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