When the need for a special education sector arose in schools around the final decades of the 20th century, it was set to solve the problem of what to do with those children who just couldn’t learn at the same level as others. Learning disabilities were just starting to be recognized as an official disability, and when the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was passed in 1975 it really set the standard for both educators and children all across the nation.
The problem that no one took into consideration, though, was the long-term goal of special education. Ideally, it would continue on the same path as traditional learning and go hand-in-hand with a standard classroom environment. Children who needed individualized attention would attend different classes for supplement learning away from the distractions of the other children. What wasn’t taken into consideration, however, is what happens when the population explodes and classrooms grow bigger, with more and more children being added all the time.
With the already-crowded school system struggling to keep up with the regular flow of students, funding for extracurricular activities and special education took a seat on the back burner of education and hoped the time would come when they could return to the fray. Instead, the budget cuts continued, and children with special needs were struggling to keep their head above the water.
Classroom Expansion vs. Special Needs
In an article published in the New York Times in 2009 that dealt with the struggles of classroom reduction, a graph accompanied the writing that showed classroom size by country – the United States skated in at 24 kids per room, right under North Korea’s 36 kids per class. That was only five years ago, but some schools now group up to 40 kids per classroom, especially in large, urban areas that are heavily populated.
One reason for the proposed need for more kids per class is strictly financial. In September of 2010, states all across the nation laid off around 58,000 teachers just as school enrollment was starting to reach a fevered pitch. This was certainly devastating to the education system as a whole, but for children with special needs it was even more of a crushing blow.
Still today, children with special needs are often forced to receive a sub-standard education when compared with children deemed “normal,” especially in schools where inclusion classes are the primary way of dealing with the issue of special education. There are some great reasons behind why class size should be reduced, but what does it mean for children with special needs when the sheer amount of students per teacher is overwhelming? Let’s take a look:
Effects Of Large Classrooms On Children With Special Needs
1. Overcrowding means less personal connection. If one teacher has 30 to 40 students in their classroom, it undoubtedly means some child is going to get left behind, especially if they struggle in certain areas. The personal attention that was given to every child is now focused on learning en masse to meet state quotas for federal funding. Students aren’t so much children anymore as they are numbers in a seat, which spells an incredibly sad future for not only standardized education but special education, as well. Children with special needs such as learning disabilities, require a personal connection, but overcrowding means they just won’t be able to find it. When children become less human through a loss of funding, apathy sets in and it’s hard to come back from that.
2. There is little support for special educators. The teachers that brave the treacherous waters of special education are often the ones who come under the most scrutiny, especially when it comes to funding. To put it simply, people like to see results and if those results aren’t forthcoming or equal to the amount of money given to a program, it’s likely that program will be cut from the budget. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to find teachers willing to take on the personalized learning special education requires, even as more children with special needs fill their classrooms than ever before. A definitive lack of teacher support hinders children with special needs in unimaginable ways.
Supplemental Learning Through Special Education Tutoring
Special Education Resource recognizes the need for special education tutoring outside of the classroom as a way of supplement learning for children with learning disabilities and other special needs. It takes a village to raise a child, and if you’re a parent or educator of a child with special needs you might feel like you’re all alone in the rough world of special education. Personal support and individualized attention is absolutely critical to teaching children, and Special Education Resource understands your struggle.
Traditional tutoring is designed mainly to be used on a per-need basis. Typically a child will receive tutoring for an upcoming test, specific assignment or a lesson they are struggling with. Supplemental learning through special education tutoring tends to be much different. Children with special needs don’t usually have issues with just one lesson or a random assignment. Their frustration runs much deeper as it’s often tough to grasp curriculum that builds on itself. If a child with special needs didn’t understand what was taught last week, they will inherently fall further behind this week and the cycle continues. Special education tutoring helps break through the frustration and tends to keep children up to date with their curriculum and other academic needs. Also, a majority of our students see a sharp decline in behavior, since the root cause is most often frustration from being overwhelmed and lost in their school activities. When grades increase, confidence and self-esteem are boosted and learning becomes fun again.
Special education tutoring molds the curriculum a child with special needs is currently learning in the traditional classroom setting to fit their unique learning style. Special Education Resource uses modern technology to supply online education for parents and educators, and has created a network of support to help you along in your journey. No one should have to go it alone, and even though it may feel difficult sometimes, there are plenty of others just like you.
The first step in the process of special education tutoring is a free consultation. The consultation is held by a special education tutor and is designed to gather information, answer your questions and help devise a plan to assist your child with special needs in reaching their excellence!