Special needs children are those children with physical or mental handicaps that don’t allow them a normal upbringing. Up until post World War II days, unmanageable handicaps were given little personal attention and no state or national attempts were made to educate them. Many of these children were institutionalized. Today, the problems still exists, but getting help is not easy. The more severe the handicap, the more complicated the treatment. Yet, often, the more it is needed, the more problematic it is.
Now every child is to get help and is to receive education. It’s the law. But getting that law to work for each individual isn’t easy. It’s not one hundred percent effective, but it’s far better than pretending the problem doesn’t exist. Basically, getting remedial aid for special needs children consists of methodology, materials, learning aids and equipment. Reading disabilities will be mainly considered here.
Methodology concerns itself with how to help those who have special difficulties with reading. The first consideration is to learn why they cannot read. What particular handicap prevents it?. If it’s lack of vision, perhaps the discovery was made in kindergarten that the child can’t see well enough to read, then an eye examination is made, and glasses take care of that.
It’s not so simple If the problem originates in the brain. The child can’t read because they don’t have the capacity to read as normal children do, then methods used to educate them will be slower and expectations likewise will be lowered. Basic skills will be taught to help them read road signs and other skills necessary to help them help themselves. Not being able to compete with a family setting will necessitate educating other members of the family in how to relate to this particular situation.
Each person with special needs will need be evaluated as to the extent of their need, and this is part of the problem in educating them. Computers have given boosts to children with visual problems and touch screens are especially valuable to these special needs persons. Computers adapted for special needs education are multifaceted. They are classified under equipment needed, materials, and as a learning aids. This one piece of equipment can be switched to large print screens, sounds for hearing as well as sight impaired, and other special ways.
By far, where reading special needs are concerned, dyslexia remediation has made the most strides in education of special needs students.
What is dyslexia? For whatever reason, a dyslexic person’s brain does not function normally where reading is concerned. There is not cut and dried methods of dealing with it, but there are specialized teachers now able to help the child read. An easy way of describing dyslexia is saying the brain is wired differently and the words are sometimes seen differently. Yet each child’s reading handicap is often different from another’s.
Much effort is being put forth by parents of dyslexic children and their teachers in the past ten or twenty years. Yet the prognosis depends on the severity of the disorder, the extra care of concern of both parents and teachers and, of course, ongoing research. Trials are ongoing and anyone wanting to know more about how to get involved, can find information at Ninds.
The particular difficulties in getting help with special needs is often overwhelming. There’s much red tape involved in state control groups, and a parent must be diligent in seeing that the qualified persons will listen and will go that extra mile in getting their child tested and enrolled in programs that will help them get the needed education they will need to succeed, or at least cope, in this complicated world.
Help first will come from pediatricians and other professional people involved with each particular person in need of help. Then armed with this information, parents can seek help from the school and from those involved in the caring for the needs of the child. All involved will have to be tenacious and patient and determined.
And help will be forthcoming, but remember, don’t get so engrossed in getting the child educated that the effort itself creates more problems for the victim, the special needs student. Love them as they are first, and patiently and lovingly seek to get help for them. Sometimes, acceptance may be the most value aid they can get. Then take the problem from there. Since they’ve never read, or walked, or heard, or spoken, doing so is probably less traumatic to them than it is to their parents!