Special Needs

Materials for special needs children

Early childhood is regarded as the pivotal point in human development. In fact, 85% of a child's brain develops by the age of 5 which is why an early childhood educator needs to be aware and instrumental in aiding the special needs child in any way.

Research shows that children suffering from any kind of learning or physical disability benefits immensely from pre-kindergarten education. Parents often notice problems that their child is having long before their first introduction to school, but for many that first step into a classroom setting is when problems become more apparent to both parents and to their teachers.

There are a variety of different problems that children can have from learning problems like retaining information, dyslexia, social or behaviour problems like ASD, ADHD, ADD and others. Although it is not the early childhood educators place to define or diagnose a disability in any student, it is the teachers duty to pay heed to red flags and to communicate effectively with parents and staff when such needs arise.

Early education can play a critical role during this important developmental period. Research linking early intervention to both cognitive and socio-emotional gains has fuelled the proliferation of early childhood programs since the early part of the twentieth century.

Once a child is identified as having special needs, it is then the educators position to be aware, sensitive and effective in making the most out of the classroom environment for those children. Once children are referred to professionals for review and a diagnosis has been made, it is always a collaborative effort between the teacher, the administration and the parent.

Teachers can refer a parent when help is requested to a variety of special services available like Child Find, for example, a state-wide initiative to locate, identify and refer as early as possible all young children with disabilities and their families who are in need of Early Intervention Programs or Preschool Special Education services.

After the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was passed in 2004, it was mandated that all state public schools evaluate students demonstrating signs of potential disabilities. Once a child is diagnosed it then becomes the school districts responsibility to provide adequate special education assistance. If eligibility is decided then parents are eligible for services for their child. Generally this process is not an overnight one and meanwhile teachers need to do the best they can to prepare before and through every school year to handle and provide the best possible environments for those children.

The Little Leaner strives to provide both educators and parents with as much current information, research and pedagogical ideas and teacher materials for special needs children.