In the not so distant past, many children with disabilities were simply excluded from typical classrooms. And many children with invisible difficulties were teased and tormented while in the classroom, as their disability was entirely overlooked, and they were blamed for not being able to work in the same way as the other kids. Today, thankfully, it’s a way different story. All children can find a happy place in school and have the opportunity to thrive in the classroom, and teachers have an arsenal of resources to help them manage their classrooms to the benefit of all students. Some of the following pieces of advice are underrated, and may not have been heard before, but they can be incredibly useful for any teacher looking to do their best for a child with disabilities in their class.
Teaching Students With Uncommon Disabilities
1. Be Conscious of Language
When you are teaching a class, you may not refer to any student specifically, or you may be talking about a specific person when the subject of disability arises. Never forget to be aware that the student is more than their disability, and they should always be described as the student first. For example, they should be described as a student with a disability, not a disabled student, as in the latter example they are defined entirely by their disability. You should also bear this in mind at all times when you refer to a person with a disability, to really reinforce that you see the person, not just the disability, and encourage that mindset amongst the rest of the class.
2. Make Accessible Resources
Rather than singling out students with disabilities and giving them different work or books to the rest of the class, try to make all of your resources accessible by considering things like font size and color before you produce them. Due to the stigma often associated with a disability, if your students aren’t able to understand a worksheet properly, they will likely suffer in silence rather than point out their difficulty to the rest of the class, meaning they won’t be able to properly take part in the lesson. Avoid this entirely by making sure all resources possible will be appropriate for every student in your class.
3. Give Some Forewarning
Teacher and Mother Candy R. Sumner, who works at Best Australian Writers, has experience in producing learning material and is aware of the ‘importance of making this available as early as possible, especially for students with disabilities.’ As many students with disabilities will experience significant nerves about entering a new class or starting a new course, there are ways of allaying their fears and allowing them to concentrate on the task at hand. Put their mind at ease by releasing the class objectives and any learning guides in advance, so they can familiarize themselves with the content early and feel confident from the beginning of the class.
4. Avoid Relying On Entirely Written Assessments
Many different disabilities, from dyslexia to autism, affect the way a student performs on paper. Give them the option for oral or visual examinations wherever possible to really level the playing field and provide a chance to excel. This does not mean that you aren’t monitoring and evaluating your students, you’re just giving your whole class the chance to perform the best they can.
Final Advice on Handling Uncommon Disabilities
While it may take some time to become fully confident and adept at handling the needs of students with disabilities in class, and despite your best efforts there may be the occasional hiccup. Following the above pieces of advice can make you and your students feel a lot more comfortable, and ensure a positive learning environment for everyone.
About the Author:
Jennifer works as online editor at Best Australian Writers (http://bestaustralianwriters.com/). Also, she is a business developer that works in different areas of education, technology, security and various types of online marketing. Prior to business developing Jennifer was consultant at Deloitte, and managed security services provider and developer of a wide range of security solutions.