Classrooms are usually decorated in a way that reflects the environment a teacher wishes to create. These include brightly coloured aides, comfortable furniture and toys for younger students suit most students. However, teachers must go an extra mile when their students include children with special needs.
You must remember that students with special needs are no different than any other student. You should create an environment that helps them improve their participation in the classroom. Special needs can include students with ADHD, Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD), or a physical disability. Making adjustments in a learning space really helps a child’s participation in a classroom. Using a holistic approach to teaching helps you understand their needs and requirements.
Suggestions for adapting classrooms
Rearranging seats in accordance with the needs of an individual child is a great way to support children with disabilities. Students with a visual or hearing impairment could sit near you and the board for better clarity. A child with a learning disability may be seated closer to their friend and peers so that they can help them with their work.
A child with ADHD can be seated in a quiet spot of the classroom and given a separate playing area in order to help them relax and concentrate.
Limiting visual clutter on walls can help reduce distractions for children with autism and ADHD.
Likewise, adjusting the lighting and noise levels in a classroom can help children with autism or visual and hearing impairment. You can also play soft music or white noise throughout the day in order to help with auditory stimulation.
Rearranging the furniture can also make moving around really easy. For example, removing rugs or any form of floor settings, lowering desks and utilising slant boards can make movement and writing easier for students with a physical disability.
Using pegs to secure doors, lowering shelves for backpacks and using padding to soften desk and rack edges can make movement for children safer and convenient.
There are many others ways one can adapt the physical environment of the learning space for the ease of their students. Talking with experts and other special educators will allow you to discuss any difficulties and solutions you may have when interacting with students. You should meet with the student’s counsellors and parents, they are the best source to help you better understand your students. You must monitor any changes you make to ensure that they are effective and actually helping the child progress.
You must remember that focusing on understanding your students is the first step. You should be helping them to integrate and participate with their peers.