Want to become a special educator? Here are some useful tips

In the last few years special needs education has come under greater focus in India with the government's Accessible India campaign. The Census 2001 data that over 21 million people in India are living with some kind of disability has also brought home the urgent need to focus on this population.

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India needs about 15 lakh special educators to address their needs, and there are many schools that are working with special children to make them self-reliant for an inclusive society. These children need a special educator to cope with the regular school curriculum.

What does a special educator do?

A special educator looks closely at the strengths and limitations of a special child and then designs a curriculum that is based on the child's disability. The children are taught sign language, motor skills, etc using play methods and audio visual materials.

What goes into making a good special educator

*Formal education:You need a degree, diploma or a certificate in special education. There are many universities that provide formal education in special education with specialisations in various disabilities. The degree has to be recognised by the Rehabilitation Council of India.

*Commitment & patience: The right degree needs to be supported with the right attitude. Handling special children is not always easy and needs 100% effort. The results may not always be 100%. So getting easily frustrated or impatient will not help. You have to be loving and patient while handling their problems or behavioural disorders.

Good coping abilities:A special educator is a therapist, friend, and teacher, and a counsellor to students and parents. This makes ir a demanding profession. Managing stress levels is something you need to be good at.

*Strong value system: Money or fame in this line cannot be the main aim. It can sometimes be without any of this, especially in India. But there is a lot of satisfaction in helping such children and making them independent.

*Right knowledge:A special educator must have knowledge about assistive devices and technology to help children and parents in their training.

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