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Special Education Resources that Really Work

Special education teachers sometimes struggle to find the right tools for individual students. Often students’ needs are not adequately met by typical curriculums. For these teachers, unconventional methods might work best to help students engage in the classroom. While this is a task that tertiary education could do a better job preparing aspiring teachers for, engaging special education students in everyday classroom scenarios is something that can and should be treated as serious and achievable, just like student engagement for other classrooms. So here are some of the best tools for special education teachers to maintain student engagement and teach students.

Sensory resources
Students are often comforted by sensory experiences.  Sensory items such as fidget balls and other therapy tools can be incredibly helpful for students who have sensory differences. Shaving cream, rice, and sand can be used in the classroom to give students an opportunity to have those comforting sensory experiences while learning. Sensory tools are one of a special education teacher’s greatest tools to increase student engagement.

Learning tools
Give students control over a sometimes overwhelming task such as reading by giving them tools like pointers or reading trackers to help them gain understanding and make them feel more confident.  For those students with reading disabilities, working through reading can be incredibly difficult, so having something on hand like a highlighter or a reading tracker can really help students focus on the task at hand, which will help them succeed in the class and in the future. 

Parameters are good for any student.  Special education students can especially benefit from a clear understanding of when the current activity is ending and when the next will begin. Using timers can help students with their understanding of transitions and the overall flow of the classroom day. By using timers that students are familiar with, you will establish these parameters and guidelines for day-to-day routines, which will help them be more successful and more adjusted as the class continues. 

Teacher motivation
More than anything else, a teacher who is rooting for them is the greatest tool that a special education student can have in the classroom. You are their advocate. By using tools and unconventional methods that meet students where they are, you are taking a step toward valuing their education in a way that so many others often feel is impossible. Continue to meet students where they are and find new ways to innovate special education for the students of tomorrow. 

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