Characteristics of Special Schools

Written by casandra maier
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Characteristics of Special Schools
Special education schools let students be where they can learn based on their needs. (school concept image by Alexey Klementiev from Fotolia.com)

Students with physical or developmental disabilities, mental health issues, or learning disabilities have special education needs. While mainstream schools may be able to meet their needs in some cases, the student may have needs that can only be met in a Special Education school. Special schools are typically characterised by special education, but the category also encompasses gifted students. Special schools are focused on providing an education that meets the needs of their students, with the proper access and instruction.

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Special Education

Special education is the "individually planned and systematically monitored arrangement of teaching procedures," according to K12academics.com. Special schools aim to provide students with a better educational experience than they would receive in a typical classroom. Students attending special schools can have a number of disabilities and it is the job of the school to meet their education needs in the manner that suits their learning differences. Special schools monitor each student's progress, and adapt based on various needs. The goal for each student is to achieve a higher level of personal self-sufficiency, in addition to success in school and the community.

Access

Special schools aim to meet the needs of students with physical disabilities. Disabled students have easy access to school grounds, classrooms and school transportation as special schools are handicap accessible. In addition, special schools provide access to adapted equipment and materials, as well as "settings and other inventions designed to help learners with special needs," according to K12academics.com. Students with dyslexia and hearing or vision impairments will have access to special teaching styles and equipment.

Teachers

Perhaps the most important characteristic element of special schools are the teachers. Teachers provide the support needed for students to succeed. Each teacher has specialised qualities and training that allows them to meet the needs of students. Special education teachers are characteristically good humoured, organised, accepting, creative, even-tempered, confident, intuitive and optimistic. Special education teachers have the capacity to invigorate students and brighten their day while providing a structured environment. Special education teachers see all students as equal, despite capabilities or behaviour, and they know how to respond in an emergency situation. They understand how to engage students in subject matter and retain control of their classroom. They also know how to address the needs of students with communication issues. Above all, teachers in special schools are optimistic, providing hope, encouragement and dedication to students with special needs.

Selection

Deciding to send your student to a special school is a personal decision and one that any parent should weigh carefully. Parents generally have the option to keep their child in a mainstream school or enrol them in a special school. When you're choosing a school, local authorities help to decide if the school is appropriate for the student's age, ability and special needs. In cases of gifted students, the school decides if the student meets the school criteria for education. In all cases, school authorities ensure that the student's presence does not negatively effect the education of others.

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