4 Special Education Intervention Strategies that Work

Special education teachers are faced with the unique challenge of catering to students with a variety of needs, both behavioral and academic. In many cases, traditional teaching methods aren’t sufficient, making it necessary for dedicated professionals to create their own intervention techniques. When it comes to providing the best education possible to special needs students, there are several intervention strategies that work. If you’re considering earning a special education degree online, here are four of the most effective to consider implementing in your future classroom.

Change the Classroom’s Environment

Depending on a child’s issues or diagnosis changing the classroom environment can have a profound impact on his attitude and behavior. For instance, seating children with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) away from high-traffic areas can help them concentrate on the task at hand by removing potential distractions. Many children with autism are sensitive to particular sounds, odors and colors. For example, a student could have difficulty with the school’s bells or his loud classmates. Providing that student with earphones during certain times can help reduce the likelihood of behavioral issues. The lack or abundance of space is another factor to consider. Too much space might encourage a hyperactive student to run and play instead of concentrating on schoolwork. Conversely, too little space can seem confining.

The Benefits of Positive Reinforcement

The theory behind positive reinforcement is simple: provide a student with a reward for good behavior and chances are he’ll continue to act appropriately in order to receive similar praise or items in the future. The first step is choosing the ideal reward for your student. For instance, one student might respond favorably to a sticker, while another would prefer receiving an additional privilege, such as more time on a classroom computer. In addition to rewards, praise the student for a job well-done or behaving in class. Provide the rewards and praise often, initially. As the year continues, decrease the frequency of rewards but continue to praise the child. Eventually, the praise and feeling of self-worth associated with completing a task or behaving in the classroom will be reward enough for the student.

Alternative Response Skills

For many special education teachers, the greatest challenges arise simply because students do not react appropriately to a situation. For example, it’s not uncommon for a child with a behavioral disorder to overreact to a stimulus or situation that another student might not even notice. The student might act out in increasingly violent ways to simply gain attention or avoid an unpleasant task. Work with the school psychologist and the child’s parents to create and implement more appropriate ways the child can respond to common situations. Ultimately, these techniques not only benefit the child, but they also create a more productive environment for the entire class.

The Importance of Choices

For many students with severe developmental or physical disabilities, the ability to make their own choices can be limited. Often, parents, teachers and doctors don’t allow these children to make simple choices because they believe the child to be incapable. Increase the child’s confidence by providing him more control over his environment. If you provide a few simple choices, the child will begin to make small decisions that will lead to bigger decisions and more independence. For instance, allow your student to choose an activity at free time or ask him whether he’d rather eat his snack before or after naptime. If the child’s ability to make choices is severely limited because of a disability, work with his parents and doctors to formulate an effective strategy. Whatever your choice, remember that along with freedom comes responsibility, meaning it’s important to teach the child the potential consequences of not making the choice in a timely fashion. Also pay attention the child’s preference isn’t a distraction to the other students or potentially harmful.

There are many challenges associated with being a special education teacher. However, in most instances, the benefits of helping students shine greatly outweigh the negatives. If you’re ready to begin an exciting career in this expanding field, consider earning your pa teacher certification, which allows you to teach at a high school level.

About the Author: Martin Hinos is a guest blogger and recent college graduate. Martin is in the process of applying to graduate school and hopes to work in special education after completing his degree.

Related posts: