What is Special Needs Education?

What is Special Needs Education?

“Special Needs” is an umbrella term covering many diagnoses such as learning disabilities, cognitive impairments, visual and hearing impairments, developmental delay, medical issues and/or behavioural problems.

Special Needs education is a specially designed method of education that focuses on the unique needs of the children who for one reason or another cannot cope with mainstream schooling. Special Needs education must take place in an environment conducive to meeting the pupil’s specific needs.

The easiest way to define Special Needs Education is in comparison to Remedial Education:

Special Needs vs Remedial

 Special NeedsRemedial
DefinitionSpecial needs education is the specific multi-sensory method of educating pupils who have special needs, focusing on their unique educational requirements.Remedial teaching is designed to rectify or remedy pupils' learning in order to improve expected capabilities in core academic skills such as literacy and numeracy.
CriteriaPupil IQ is below average (i.e. Less than 90)
Pupil may have one or more of the following: intellectual disabilities, emotional and behavioral problems, physical disabilities, developmental delay, visual impairments, hearing impairments.
Pupil has low performance in reading, spelling, comprehension, and/or mathematics
Pupil is functioning below their chronological age,grade level and mental age
However the pupils' IQ is average or above average
Teaching MethodPupils follow a different curriculum to a mainstream one
Focus less on academic skills and more on social, functional and life skills
Specific individual goals (Individual Education Plans) are created and followed for every student
The teaching environment is adapted to suit the pupil
Small classes or individual teaching is suitable
Pupil follows mainstream curriculum with help from a qualified remedial teacher
The remedial program is designed to help build the pupils' skills and confidence
It may be one on one or in small groups
The focus is mainly academic skills
Overall goalTo help the pupil function as independently as possibleTo help the pupil pass mainstream examinations