How Classrooms can be Adapted for Children with Special Needs
Classrooms are usually decorated in a way that reflects the environment a teacher wishes to create. These may include brightly coloured aids, important topic lists, reminders, comfortable furniture and toys for younger students that suit most students. However, teachers must go the extra mile when their students include children with special needs. For that, there are short CPD courses such as Dealing with SENs in the Classroom that can help you understand your learners' educational needs better.
For students with special needs you should create an environment that helps them improve their participation in the classroom. Special needs can include students with ADHD, Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD), or a physical disability. Making adjustments in a learning space really helps a child’s participation in a classroom. Using a holistic approach to teaching helps you understand their needs and requirements. You can also opt for a primary teaching course which enables you to understand the theory behind being an assistant teacher for public or private schools and support learners more effectively.
Suggestions for adapting classrooms
- Rearranging seats in accordance with the needs of an individual child is a great way to support children with disabilities or Special Educational Needs (SENs). Students with a visual or hearing impairment could sit near you and the board for better clarity. A child with learning or emotional difficulties may be seated closer to their friends and peers so that they can help them with their work.
- A child with ADHD can be seated in a quiet spot of the classroom and given a separate playing area in order to help them relax and concentrate.
- Limiting visual clutter on walls can help reduce distractions for children with autism and ADHD.
- Likewise, adjusting the lighting and noise levels in a classroom can help children with autism or visual and hearing impairment. You can also play soft music or white noise throughout the day in order to help with auditory stimulation.
- Rearranging the furniture can also make moving around really easy. For example, removing rugs or any form of floor settings, lowering desks and utilising slant boards can make movement and writing easier for students with a physical disability.
- Using pegs to secure doors, lowering shelves for backpacks and using padding to soften desk and rack edges can make movement for children safer and convenient.
There are many other ways one can adapt the physical environment of the learning space for the ease of their students. Talking with experts and other special educators will allow you to discuss any difficulties and solutions you may have when interacting with students. You should meet with the student’s counsellors and parents, they are the best source to help you better understand your students. You must monitor any changes you make to ensure that they are effective and actually helping the child progress. Additionally, the primary teaching assistant course can also aid in understanding the cognition of the learners and offer techniques that assist learners to progress in their learning journey.
You must remember that focusing on understanding your students is the first step. You should be helping them to integrate and participate with their peers. You can also teach them to be more accepting towards each other. Completing the primacy teaching assistant course can help you gauge more knowledge about different disabilities and ways to attend to your learners needs better.