Tips for Assisting Children with a Disability in the Classroom

With schools making a big push to include children with disabilities or other special needs into regular classrooms, you'll often have students in your class who will need your assistance in many areas. Read below for some ways you can help children with disabilities in your classroom.

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Tips to Help Children with Disabilities in Class

Preferential Seating

It's helpful to find a place in your classroom to sit disabled students where they will be close to instruction and won't be distracted. They should sit in a seat that provides them with access to you and also makes it easy for you to assist them quickly when they need your help. Additionally, sit these special-needs students next to other students in the class who can exert a positive influence on them. For instance, try to sit a student who has a behavior problem next to a student who will act as a role model for appropriate classroom behavior. Also, depending on the situation in your classroom and the disabilities of your students, it may be helpful to ask your special-needs students about their sitting preferences.

Assign a Classroom Helper

Many children with special needs have aides who come in to assist them when needed, but not all children have this arrangement. You may want to assign a trusted student to help. However, it's a good idea to consult the student who has the disability first. Sometimes, singling out a special-needs child for extra assistance can have adverse effects.

Extended Wait Time

When you ask your class specific questions about the material you've presented, don't be in a hurry to get an answer. Give them plenty of time to respond. Often, students - with or without disabilities - have trouble answering questions out loud, but it can be even more daunting for disabled or special-needs students to speak up in the classroom. If you give all your students extra time to answer questions, you will assist those with disabilities without bringing unwanted attention to them.

Extra Time for Assignments

Just because students have disabilities doesn't mean they'll have trouble finishing their work on time. However, it sometimes helps to allow for extra time on assignments. You may choose to give a disabled student an extra day or two to finish the assignment, or have the student complete it in parts.

Utilize Differential Instruction

Because students' disabilities will be diverse, it's important that your instruction is also diverse. Some students will need visual aids or manipulatives to understand a lesson. Other students may benefit by being supplied with a copy of the notes that other students are able to record themselves. Using various forms of instruction will give your special-needs students the best opportunity to be successful in the classroom.

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