Autism is by no means a rare condition, though there is still a great deal of research that needs to be completed in order to truly understand the cause of this condition and the best way to treat it. If you have a child who suffers from autism, just getting through the day can be wrought with challenges. The thought of sending your autistic child to school – to an environment that could be scary and overwhelming for your child – may cause you to panic. With education and preparation, however, you can get your autistic child ready for school.
In this article you will learn some background information about autism to help you understand the unique challenges your child may face in school. You will also receive some detailed tips to help prepare yourself and your child to make the transition into school as smooth as possible. The more prepared you are, and the more prepared your child is, the better he will be able to transition into a school setting.
Understanding the Basics of Autism
Autism spectrum disorder, more commonly known as autism, is actually a general term for a group of complex disorders affecting brain development. Autism affects the child’s social interactions as well as his verbal and nonverbal communication skills and repetitive behaviors. Every child with autism is unique, though in general autism seems to be rooted in early brain development. Signs of autism tend to manifest between the ages of 2 and 3 years, though they can. . .read more
They say that teaching is a thankless job – not only are teachers underpaid, but many of them dedicate countless hours of their free time to do extra work for their students. Being a teacher in general can be very difficult, but being a special needs teacher comes with its own unique set of challenges. Whether you are a special needs teacher or the parent of a special needs child, keep reading to learn some helpful tips for making the most of your child’s education.
What are the Challenges of Working with Special Needs Students?
Compared to most other professions, the burn-out rate for special needs teachers is extremely high – approximately 50% of special education teachers leave their jobs within just 5 years. Teaching is a difficult and stressful career in and of itself, but special education adds an extra layer of difficulty. Some of the biggest challenges of working with special needs students are as follows:
- Lack of parental support. You can pour your heart and soul into your efforts as a special education teacher but if the child’s parents are not on board, all of that work could be for nothing. Having a positive relationship with the parents of your students is essential.
- Lack of appreciation. Teachers do not teach because it is a prestigious or high-paying career – they do it for love of the students. Still, a little appreciation goes a long way, especially in a challenging and stressful field like special education.
- Too much paperwork. Every special needs
The fact of the matter is that some students learn more quickly than others and some students need more individualized attention. In order to accommodate for the differing needs of their students, many schools started to adopt a tracking system, separating students by academic ability into different groups for certain subjects or for all subjects. This type of program is sometimes called ability grouping (though these are technically two different things) and it is a hotly debated issue in public schools. Before you decide whether tracking might be a good option for your child, take a moment to learn what it is as well as the pros and cons of this type of system.
What is Tracking or Ability Grouping?
Also referred to as phasing or streaming, tracking is a system in which students are divided into classes based on their overall achievement. Students are ranked as being average, normal, or below average and they are divided into classes with students of the same achievement level. Tracking has been used in American public schools for nearly a century and it has changed and developed a great deal during that time. In the early years, tracking was a response to growing numbers of immigrant children coming into the public school system. The goal was to provide those children with an education that was catered to their limited understanding of the English language and their limited preparation, as compared to native students. What ended up happening, however, was a form of internal segregation. . .read more
Children can be cruel and it is not uncommon for grade school students to come home in tears after someone called them a name on the bus ride home. Unfortunately, many parents do not understand the potentially damaging effects of bullying not only on a child’s confidence and self-esteem but also on his academic performance.
Shocking Statistics About Bullying
According to StopBullying.gov, a website managed by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, nearly 50% of students in grades 4 through 12 experienced bullying within a given month and more than 70% of students admit to having seen bullying occur in their school. Verbal and social bullying are the two most common types, including things like name calling, teasing, spreading rumors, stealing belongings, sexual comments and gestures, or physical violence. Physical bullying happens less often than social bullying and cyberbullying, though it is becoming increasingly prevalent, is still less common.
While many people assume that a little bit of bullying is harmless – it may even be helpful for the child to teach them how to stick up for themselves. In reality, however, an estimated 160,000 children miss school on any given day due to fear of bullying by other students. Every day, more than 280,000 students are physically attacked in schools and one out of ten students who drops out of school mentions repeated bullying as a factor. Bullying can have a serious impact on a child’s educational experience, and not just by causing him or her to miss. . .read more