The term “special education” has always interested me. What is so special about it; the individualized education plans (IEPs)? Why is it that children are expected to fit in the same box unless they have a diagnosis or some evaluation score that sets them apart?
Don’t get me wrong, I certainly appreciate the individualized nature of plans for children with developmental and other challenges; ALL children should be taught in the way that they learn best and not expected to learn the way the textbook always says.
Further, even kids with an IEP aren’t always taught in a manner that is individualized. They may have specific goals they are working on, but that doesn’t always mean that the materials and teaching style is tailored to the needs of that child.
One of the reasons I love ABA so much is that it affords us the opportunity to develop specific goals to target a child’s most functional needs AND provides us an adaptive model for teaching them in a fashion that fits their learning style. If the child isn’t learning the material or facing behavioral barriers that are preventing learning, as instructors we need to take a step back and find another way to teach the concepts that fits the child’s style and reduces the behavioral barriers.
We may be teaching kids the skills they need to navigate their world, but how we teach them is best understood by being adaptive to the needs of each child.