The Value Of Early Childhood Special Education Teachers

Early childhood special education services for children aged between 3 and 5 years old are typically provided by schools and special education cooperatives, as well as specialist schools and in private practice. They will often work as part of a team with speech therapists and physical therapists to help a child progress in the most effective way possible.

The benefits of early intervention

Research shows that the young brain develops rapidly and is shaped by early experiences. For young children (those of pre-kindergarten age) with measured learning delays or disabilities, intervention with Special Education services can significantly improve their academic outcomes.

It is a mandated requirement that children are provided a ‘free and appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment in accordance with their individual needs.’ So, in addition to the primary concern of the child’s wellbeing and advancement, there is also a financial consideration.

Financial implications of Special Education 

Special education classes are typically smaller to allow more one-to-one interaction and require more specialist equipment than those in general education. Therefore, a child in special education presents a higher cost than an induvial who is not disabled. This can create a challenge for parents in funding their disabled child’s education; however, there is support and initiatives to help give every child the education they require.

With pupils who need the support of special education over the long term, early childhood interactions with a qualified educator can result in positive changes in health, language and communication, cognitive development, as well as social and emotional development. This has significant benefits for the wellbeing and quality of life for both the child in direct receipt of this support, as well as their families.

Shortage of early childhood special education teachers

A larger number of Early Childhood Special Education teachers decreases the number of children at risk of a poor outcome when they enter education at the kindergarten level. However, there is currently a shortage of teachers at that level that is more pronounced than the general shortage in all teaching positions.

Some pupils require special education not because of learning disabilities but because of cultural learning needs, where they need to adjust to absorbing learning in what is not their native language. Therefore special education teachers need to be prepared to work with children from diverse racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, and linguistic backgrounds.

Additional qualifications for the role

For those who have already attained a bachelor’s degree, they then need to seek a role-specific certification that can be assessed in a classroom situation by an approved advisor. Many qualifications for this role allow for flexibility of learning around current teaching commitments to provide a paced progression for enrollees.

Addressing the unique needs that result from a child’s educational delay or disability means that early childhood special education teachers need to adapt content and how that content is communicated according to the individual needs of each child. This can be a challenging task, as the child may have additional behavioral problems or difficulties with staying focused in class.

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