The field of special education encompasses services to disabled persons for numerous handicaps, and there are many ways to specialize a degree in special education. For example, a teacher will need to employ different techniques for autistic students than they would use for a child who is blind. In order for these educators to provide effective service to their communities, they often need extensive, specialized training that targets the needs of the disabled students who they want to serve. Some special education teaching candidates want to contribute to the educational process through policy analysis and curriculum development. Here are some common special education concentration areas that are available through today’s leading degree programs.
Applied Behavior Analysis
Some special education professionals work with autistic children and those who display chronic behavioral challenges. These instructors must have extensive training in the science of behavioral analysis, according to Autism Speaks. The techniques that they use to increase good behaviors and reduce negative ones serve to help many students to acquire fundamental academic knowledge and common life sustaining skills.
Higher Education Disabilities
A number of people have found success with special education services throughout their time in primary and secondary schools, and they want to continue their studies at the university level or at trade schools. Special education teachers can concentrate their degree programs to focus on supporting those individuals as they pursue college degrees. Higher education special educators can work as advisors to universities that need to provide applicable educational adjustments that are based upon the disabilities represented within their student bodies. For example, learning disabled students can be provided with recorded lessons for study purposes, or a university program may have to provide an alternate course option to give disabled students equal opportunity for successful degree completion.
Multisensory Language Arts
There are many ways to learn how to read and write, but most school systems only utilize the way that best suits the majority of its student body. This often poses a problem for the academic advancement of students who have slight learning disabilities like dyslexia. Once they fall behind in fundamental subjects like reading and writing, it is hard for them to catch up to their classmates and move on to more advanced subjects. Special education teachers who have the skills to employ multi-sensory instructional techniques can help dyslexic children learn these fundamentals through a variety of visual and audio cues.
Instructional Design and Technologies in Special Education
The concentration area of instructional design and technology for special education introduces instructors to the best ways to convey academic concepts and principles for certain disabled audiences. The educators who pursue this concentration area must understand how students with various disabilities process information, and they must generate science backed ways to deliver high quality lessons to their students. This concentration area encourages teaching candidates to explore the use of the latest technology products and services to enhance the educational experiences of disabled students.
The demand for special education skills among licensed teachers appears to be growing as modern communities strive to close the gap between the quality of education of disabled and non-disabled students. Also, advances in medical research, testing and assessment have resulted in more diagnoses of disabilities in young children in recent years. Many universities offer academic programs that allow a teacher to specialize a degree in special education based upon the most common disabilities found within the nation’s population.