A Teacher's Guide to Special Education Resources
Becoming a special education teacher requires hard work and dedication. Those interested in a career as a special education teacher must first earn a bachelor's degree in special education. Both traditional in-classroom university degrees and online teaching degrees are available to those seeking higher education. After earning a bachelor's degree, individuals must also obtain a teaching certificate in the state where they plan to teach, which generally involves an internship and passing a certification exam. While those steps may give someone the necessary credentials to be a special education teacher, many teachers find that working with students who have special needs requires a lifetime of learning, since new information and technologies are constantly being discovered.
In addition, the body of students who require special education services encompasses individuals with a wide variety of impairments, disorders and learning differences. Special education teachers may find themselves facing new challenges every day as they work with students whose needs they have not encountered before. Keeping informed about common conditions and strategies that can be useful for teaching students with special needs can make the job easier and the educator more effective in providing the best possible learning environment for all of their students.
General Disabilities Information
Special Education Grants - The Office of Special Education Programs offers grants to eligible organizations in support of initiatives related to special education.
- A Guide to Disability Rights Laws - This guide provides information about the laws that apply to people with disabilities, including the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which explains the right to a public education and the requirement for Individualized Education Programs (IEPs).
Treatments for Learning Disabilities - Read about strategies for helping students with learning disabilities cope with their specific type of disability. This page includes examples of methods teachers can use when teaching students with various conditions.
- Teaching Writing for Students with Learning Disabilities - This paper gives educators information for teaching students with learning disabilities to help form strong writing habits by preventing difficulties and developing writing skills.
Speech or Language Impairments - Learn the difference between speech impairments and language impairments as well as ways students with these types of impairments can be helped through special education.
- Speech Impairments Fact Sheet - This web page explains the effects of speech impairments on the education of students as well as ideas for supporting students with speech impairments in the classroom.
Hearing Loss in the Classroom - This article includes information about technologies that can assist students with hearing loss in a classroom setting.
- Special Education Service Agency (SESA) Newsletter (PDF) - Read an issue of the SESA newsletter that focuses on teaching hearing-impaired students, including an article by a nine-year-old boy about what it is like to be deaf and how his impairment affects his learning.
Inclusion of Visually Impaired Students - Read a paper that describes three positions regarding educating visually impaired students in regular classrooms.
- Using 3D Prints to Teach Visually Impaired Students - Discover how 3D prints can be used to enhance the learning experience of students with visual impairments.
Behavioral Disorders Defined - The Council for Exceptional Children defines behavior disorders, including information about specific types of behavioral disorders.
- Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) - Learn more about ADHD, its causes, treatments and other information from the Attention Deficit Disorder Association.
Online Learning Tools and Software for Autism - Find out about apps, software and online tools for learning about autism or teaching students with autism.
- Asperger's Syndrome - Asperger's syndrome is a disorder on the autism spectrum. Read about the history of Asperger's and how it differs from a classic autism diagnosis.
Resources for Parents and Educators
- Identifying Developmental Milestones - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers an online course for educators and childcare providers that teaches how to identify developmental milestones and intervene early when a delay is discovered.
Special Needs and Technology
Accessibility Settings - Find out how you can adjust the settings on your devices to make them more accessible to students with special needs.
- Technology for Visually Impaired Students - This article provides information about software and equipment that can help visually impaired students to use computers.
Associations and National Organizations
National Association of Special Education Teachers (NASET) - Become a member of NASET and receive access to professional development courses, parent teacher conference handouts and lots of other information geared toward teachers who work with students with special needs.
- Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD) - AHEAD is an international organization that advocates for equal education opportunities for students with disabilities. Its members are professionals who are involved in policymaking for institutes of higher education.
Special Education Discussion Groups
Special Education Forum - Join or start conversations about topics related to special education.