Special Education is the practice of educating students in a way that caters to their individual differences and special needs. Students with special abilities require distinctive training to develop their skills. The increase in awareness about nurturing children with special needs among the masses is accompanied by a rapid increase in the demand for special educators. Furthermore it takes a certain kind of resilience and patience to sustain the demands of this type of teaching hence the profession is immensely respected.
A special educator works with students who have special needs, which could either be cognitive, emotional, physical or behavioral. They use different curriculum and methodology to teach such young people ranging from working in classrooms to resource centers; from developing Individualised Education Programs for tracking a student’s progress to coordinating with other teachers and counsellors for preparing lessons.
HOW TO BUILD ON THE SUBJECT
The school curriculum is not designed in a manner which enlightens a student much about special education. But a student can take hints from the work ethics and personality traits of the special educators who visit their school to help out children with special abilities (if any) and examine how much their interest and personality align. Otherwise, the students can visit NGOs/ health centers who specifically cater to the needs of children with special abilities, spend time with them and evaluate whether they are ready to commit themselves to this profession as it demands a high level of dedication and emotional investment.
VARIOUS CAREER OPPORTUNITIES IN SPECIAL EDUCATION
- Special Education for Early Childhood- The early childhood special education focuses on children below 6 years of age and has various modes of imparting training based on the ability of the target group of children.
- Special Education for Autistic Spectrum Disorders– The special educators work with autistic children and help in the area concerned as well as in their rehabilitation.
- Special Educator for Gifted and Talented Student– The gifted kids are quite exceptional in their own way and they do require modifications of the usual school programs in order to reach their full potential. The special educators work to identify and help them reach their optimum potential.
- Applied Behavior Analysis- Earning a Master’s in Applied Behavior Analysis can further furnish special education teachers with the tools to unclog more impactful learning experience for students who have learning, mental, emotional, and physical disabilities
- Special Education in Visual Impairment- This course aims to prepare special educators to handle children with visual disabilities.
- Special Education in Hearing Impairment- Candidates who undergo this course would learn methods for educational management of children with hearing impairment.
As a special educator, one would get an opportunity to work in public schools, private schools, childcare services, NGOs, therapy centers and rehabilitation centers
- Educators will assess children to gain insight about their special abilities and learning styles and further develop individual educational plans (IEPs) to promote students’ development.
- They would also be required to collaborate with other teachers/relevant parties to evaluate or revise preschool programs
- They will develop teaching materials and methods.
- The educators would also help in supervising/training other budding special educators
Empathetic and Positive outlook– children with special needs may require extra time, energy, patience and empathetic perspective to understand concepts.
Communication Skills– the educators need to have strong communication skills so as to communicate with children of a variety of special needs. Furthermore, they would need to communicate with other relevant parties such as parents, counsellors, teachers, therapists etc.
Critical thinking – one should be an active learner, listener and observer who can understand, accept and modify the teachings as per the situation and demand of the child.
Personality Traits– one should be adaptable to changes, flexible in their approach, cooperative, calm and compassionate in nature to deal with students with a broad range of special abilities.
ADMISSION AND ENTRANCE EXAMS
A student can take up any subject of his/her liking in high school and after class 12 he/she is eligible to take admission and pursue under graduation in any college of India offering a Bachelor’s degree in any stream of their preference. A bachelor’s degree of 3 years duration would enable one to pursue B.Ed. in special education. The student can further gain specialization by doing Masters (M.Ed.) from an institute recognized by the Rehabilitation Council of India.
Alternatively, the student can opt for integrated B.A./B.Sc.+B.Ed.(special education) 4 years programme after completing class 12 and can further follow it with master’s in special education.
HOW TO PREPARE FOR THE ENTRANCE EXAM
UG SPECIAL EDUCATION
The eligibility criteria for admission into B.Ed. Special Education requires an UG Degree with a minimum of 50% aggregate. While few colleges offer admission based on performance in various entrance exams namely BHU UET, UP B.Ed. JEE etc.
PG SPECIAL EDUCATION
The admission in most of the colleges and universities are through the CUET platform and few colleges accept admission through university-specific entrance exams.
The syllabus for various courses offered in PG Special Education is available at the official portal of CUET:
PG SPECIAL EDUCATION
The CUET is a computer based 2 hour examination with the medium of instruction being English or Hindi. The total marks is 400 and a correct answer is marked +4 whereas a wrong answer leads to negative marking of -1. The exam is only administered once a year.
- PART-A will consist of 25 objective questions (MCQs) and will include English, General Awareness, Mathematical Aptitude and Analytical Skills. 2. PART-B will consist of 75 objective questions (MCQs) from the following Syllabus:
The question paper consist of 2 parts-
Part A- 25 questions on teaching aptitude, reasoning, current educational scenario
Part B- 75 questions on Domain Knowledge
The CUCET counselling will be conducted by each of the participating university separately through online mode. Qualified candidates will have to register themselves in the website of participating universities through online mode. All universities have their own eligibility criteria for offering the admissions.
DO I NEED TO TAKE COACHING FOR CUET SPECIAL EDUCATION?
Preparing for CUET PG is not an uphill task. If a student has sound knowledge of the pattern and syllabus of the examination, then he/she can devise a strategic plan to prepare for it. Solving previous years question papers and appearing for mock tests are also an effective way of preparation.
LEADING SPECIAL EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS IN INDIA
- Ali Yavar Jung National Institute of Speech and Hearing Disability, Mumbai/Kolkata/Secuandarabad
- National Institute for Empowerment of Persons with Multiple Disabilities (Divyangjan)- Chennai
- National institute for the Mentally Handicapped, Kasturba Niketan, New Delhi
- All India Institute for Speech & Hearing, Mysore
- National Institute for the Mentally Handicapped, Kolkata
- Pandit Deendayal Upadhayaya Institute for the Physically Handicapped, New Delhi
- National Institute for the Visually Handicapped, Dehradun
- National Association for the Welfare of the Physically Handicapped, Amravati
- Rehabilitation Council of India-Delhi
- Delhi University ( Lady Irwin College)
- Dept. of Teacher Training & Non Formal Education, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi
- Amity University – Noida
RECOMMENDED BOOKS AND ONLINE RESOURCES
- General Knowledge by Arihant
- Descriptive English by S.P. Bakshi
- Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning by Dr. R.S. Aggarwal
- Lucent’s Sampurna Hindi Vyakaran aur Rachna, Arvind Kumar
- Special Education Course by Udemy
- Managing ADHD, Autism, Learning Difficulties, and Concussion in school by Coursera