Sukanya, 13 is a bright child, smart for her age and filled with the boundless curiosity that only children can possess. But, ask her if she goes to school. Her face dims, as if somebody has switched off a light.
Sukanya suffers from polio and vision problems. She cannot join school because most schools refuse to accept a disabled student. She cannot join special need schools either, because her place, Korlakunta, Andhra Pradesh does not have any. And the nearest school she can go to is 100 kms away. Education is not always easy when you are a special needs students. Either you cannot find a school, or you do not have the money to pay for a school.
Even if the above two criteria are fulfilled, the next step is actually finding a teacher who is properly qualified to teach special needs students. Most special needs schools lack teachers who are well-qualified. The only people this impacts are special needs students, who are deprived of a chance at education.
For teachers who want to become special needs teachers, the resources which allow them to make informed decisions are not always available. Keeping that in mind, we at the The Teachers Digest have put together a few helpful resources that will help you make an informed decision, should you want to become a special needs teacher!
After passing 12th grade, you can join a two year DEd course in special education, in any disability category. There are institutes that offer bachelors and masters program in special education. There are many institutes in India that offer short term special education courses. Most people first complete their bachelors’ degree as a primary or secondary teacher and then do a masters in the special education field.
2. Institutes In India
There are many institutes in India that offer special education training. A few are listed below
- All India Institute Of Speech And Hearing (AIISH)– Mysore
- S.R Chandrashekhar Institute Of Speech And Hearing – Bangalore
- National Institute For The Mentally Handicapped – Secundarabad
- N.D.T Women’s University – Mumbai
- Amar Jyoti Rehabilation and Research Center – New Delhi
- Shrishti Learning Center – New Delhi
3. Work Experience Requirement
Usually the work experience requirement for a special education teacher varies from state to state. Most special education schools prefer experienced teachers, but you can gain experience as a special needs teacher during your training period. So it is preferable to join any special education training program with at least one year duration. As mentioned above in the educational requirements section, you can also initially join a bachelors program for primary teacher, then gain experience and then go for special education training.
4. Key Skills
After educational requirements and work experience, comes your emotional ability to carry out your responsibilities as a special needs teacher. You should have the ability to understand and respond to non-verbal communication. To master this skill you require keen observation and use of body language. Be more empathetic and inventive. Each student in your class might have a different skill set and abilities. You must be able to be accessible to all students in the classroom and continue with the lesson. Adaptability is the most important skill every special education teacher should have. You should try changing your methods of teaching frequently so as to keep your class interesting and learning-friendly.
5. Things To Know (Pros And Cons)
Before you decide to become a special needs teacher, it should be kept in mind that this profession completely different from other professions. Know that you should have a positive attitude always and be ready to face challenges. If you want to establish a good relationship with your students and their parents, patience is very important. Teaching children with special needs can be inspiring but at times it can be frustrating, so it is important that you be prepared for all these challenges before hand!
Did you find the above information useful? If you still have any questions about becoming a special education teacher, please post your queries in the comments section below!