Special Education and Cognitive Weaknesses


special education resourcesSpecial education teachers have been helping students with learning disabilities in the United States education system since the 1940’s. The initial movement for special education began with the formation of parent-organized advocacy groups. In 1947 one of these early organizations, the American Association on Mental Deficiency, held its first convention. That marked a launching point for special education as we know it today.

Also started during the Civil Rights Movement in the early 1950s were the United Cerebral Palsy Association, the Muscular Dystrophy Association, and John F. Kennedy’s Panel on Mental Retardation. These groups were among an increasing number of advocacy groups focused on assisted learning programs. The formation of such groups eventually led to special education being introduced into schools across the country in the 1960’s. It was then that school access was established for such children with disabilities at the state and local levels.

Special education in schools can often overlook a key aspect of why students suffer from learning disabilities. This oversight is of course unintentional. The reasons for some of the more common learning disabilities are weak cognitive skills. Improving on such weaknesses can often times be the goal of a special education teacher. This is why passion, patience, and dedication are often considered must qualities for those who are interested in special education jobs. Cognitive skills are the mental capabilities that are needed to successfully learn academic subjects. In other words, cognitive skills are the learning skills needed to retain information; process, analyze, and compartmentalize facts and feelings; and visualize mental pictures, read words, and understand concepts. They should not be confused with academic skills, which include subjects like math, science, or history.

Proper testing to identify potentially weak cognitive skills will help special education educators put together a plan of action to help strengthen them. This type of training will last a lifetime. It is important to understand the commitment to learning that is not only being done by the student, but also the special education teacher. By not focusing on the cognitive skills, a special education student will struggle thier entire life until they are trained properly. It is highly recommended that you have your child tested to determine if any weaknesses are evident. Once tested, a personalized, unique learning program can be developed for your child to overcome their learning weaknesses.

Special education teachers, advocates, and classroom assistants and aides all fall under the umbrella of special education jobs. Additional special education resources and information is available online at SpecialEdThread.com

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