Coping with Special Needs

As teachers we are often faced with a plethora of questions when we are teaching new curriculum to our students. Even if you are a veteran teacher you know how difficult it can be to get to every student in the given amount of time you may have for each class. Some students might leave class with unanswered questions or may have to stay after class because you couldn’t reach every child. Then, you may feel you didn’t teach the lesson very well because there were so many questions. Now, what I have described to you could potentially happen in a typical classroom.

Let’s introduce another factor into the equation, a student who has special needs; a student who has sensory issues and requires your attention constantly. Someone who may be autistic. This is not a make believe classroom, it is a reality. So what do teachers do? Do they focus their attention on this one student who requires a lot of accommodations and deprive 25-30 students of the teachers attention or does the teacher spend less time on the special needs student and focus on the majority? To be honest I don’t have the answer to this question. With more special needs students being placed into a regular ed. classroom, this is becoming a reality. In addition, with schools being forced to make cuts because of state budget constraints, how does a school district afford an aide for a child that may require more one on one assistance? Legally, I believe a school has to provide for a student with special needs, if it is necessary.

I am very early into my school year and I am already seeing very exhausted teachers because of having to use time and energy for one student and they are neglecting the other students in their classroom. Yes, this student has special needs. When it comes time to prep for classes, they are spending an extra two, maybe three hours trying to accommodate this one child. Don’t get me wrong, there hasn’t been any complaints about doing the accommodations, they are just tired.

So, I am at a loss. What is a teacher supposed to do? Focus on many or focus on one? Perhaps there is more to it than what I am seeing. All I know is every child deserves the chance to be properly educated.


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