Special education has gained importance in recent years and continues to do so at a rapid pace. This reflects the increased awareness and acceptance of learning differences among us.
In simple terms, special education refers to teaching children (or adults) with varied learning needs and learning disabilities. You can read more about the types of disabilities HERE.
Special needs education generally brings to mind children with deficits in learning. However, it considers exceptional or gifted children as well since they may require additional resources to meet their learning needs. In many cases, children with special educational needs can attend a mainstream school along with their general education peers but with extra support. Inclusion in mainstream schools is gaining momentum but is met with struggles due to a lack of resources.
Whether a child with special educational needs may access inclusive education is a matter of disagreement. It all depends on the child’s level of functioning and social-behavioural skills. If a child is clearly not achieving learning gains in a regular classroom setup and/or exhibits disruptive tendencies it may be necessary to teach the child in a smaller group or individually. An assessment to evaluate the severity of a child’s disability will help decide educational options.
Concerted effort from parents, teachers and special educators is the best way forward in reaching the goals of inclusion and special needs education in our schools today.