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Special Needs Teacher Jobs
It is said that 20% of students these days are dealing with a disability which may be either physical, educational, emotional, or a combination of all three. A special needs child may be autistic, hearing or sight impaired, paralysed, be struggling with an illness or have Downs Syndrome. They may be dyslexic, bilateral or not know the language the educational experience is being delivered in. They may be abused at home, traumatised by war or crime, be a carer for an ill parent or have just been adopted. Some children have problems in controlling their behaviour towards others, struggle to remain on task or are very restless physically, possibly an ADD or ADHD child. Any circumstance or combination of circumstances in a child’s life which affects their ability to learn can be classed as a Special Educational Need. In some cases these are long term issues whereas in others they are transitory in nature.
Special needs teachers’ jobs may be in a special school or a special needs unit within a mainstream school, college or university. The work involved depends on the needs identified in that particular individual or set of students. There are specialities within the Special Educational Needs profession addressing needs pertaining to a physical disability, to a learning difficulty, or an autism spectrum issue such as ADD or ADHD or even some version of the wide varieties of autism itself. There is an element of counselling involved in the emotional care of these children as well as a need to know how to approach their access to learning.
Skills required in a Special Needs Teachers’ job relate specifically to the needs set in the student or students they are working with. The objective of SEN teaching is to enable a child with specific difficulties to access learning at a level unchallenged children can reach without help. This means that part of the SEN Teacher’s remit with these vulnerable children is to be able to boost confidence and maintain interest as well as help the child with the physical aspects of accessing learning and managing in the school environment as independently as possible.
There are a wide variety of skills specifically required in SEN teaching. These range from sign language for the hearing impaired, language teaching for children whose mother tongue is different to the main language taught at school, makaton (a form of sign language usually used with Down’s Syndrome children), Braille (for the sight impaired), to name but a few.
It is important to look into the form of SEN teaching you are interested in and apply appropriately to the position you want. Special Needs Teaching jobs are advertised in much the same way as other teaching positions although there are associations, websites and agencies which will specialise in this field, depending on where you are looking. Some countries have more developed Special Educational Need provision while in others, any provision is either in a medical setting or in private schools only. The best starting point for a job search is probably to register interest with an online job search service and look in the local press. In the UK, for example, there is a publication called the Times Educational Supplement which is a reputable job listings and career advice provision for the educational profession.