Special education as a career choice

Special Education as a Career Choice

Traditionally, special education is much-neglected and not much thought of sector in India. In most cases, the responsibility of educating and nurturing the talents of a visually or mentally challenged child rests solely upon the parents. This is unlike the western countries where special education as a branch of study and career is given due care and attention. Times are, however, changing in Indian scenario also. A number of special schools and institutes have opened up across the country and the best possible education is now available to disadvantaged students. Professionally qualified special educators undertake this challenging task. A large number of grants and subsidies are also available to the sector.

Areas of work

Special education is a vast, varied and specialized field. Educators generally choose to specialize in a specific area of work and gain further knowledge and experience in that field. Options available for specialization include:

• Physically challenged students

• Mentally challenged students

• Hearing impaired students

• Visually challenged students

Role of Special Educators

One of the foremost requirements of a special educator in the field is to have infinite patience and ability to connect with children of special needs. Unlike teachers in mainstream education who are largely involved with teaching and evaluation alone, that too as per a standard format and definition, the special educators have several responsibilities. Teaching does form an important part of the special educator’s job. In addition to teaching, the educator is involved in extra curricular, vocational and sports-related activities. Many a time, children with special needs and parents also look upon special educators as counselors. A large number of special educators possess degrees in child psychology, counseling and social work. Often they are involved in training parents and volunteers.

Development of curriculum is also not standardized as in regular schools. Hence, special educators are actively involved in developing and revising curriculum. Syllabus may be tailored to suit the needs of individual students in some cases. Educational aids become crucial in special education. The development, purchase and review of such aids also fall within the duties of the educator. In short the role of special educator is much larger and with greater responsibility than that of a standard teacher.

The Workplace

Special educators work largely in educational or medical set-ups. Openings are available in special schools run by various societies such as the Spastic Society of India or those run by central government or various state governments, a large number of Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) operating in the area, hospitals & clinics, rehabilitation centers as also as private sector as teachers.

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