Blog on Special Educational Needs - Asian College of Teachers

Symptoms That Help Special Educators Identify the Students with Special Needs

26th February 2020

Special educators are known to utilise a number of techniques in order to identify the children with special needs and how to educate them in the proper way. However, before that, they have to identify the students with these special needs and for that, they have to understand the symptoms that help in this identification. In the following lines, we will have a look at the various symptoms that help in the identification of the students with special needs and why the future special needs educators need to inculcate this in their curriculum in order to cater to their development while pursuing the special needs courses online.

Here is a look at the list of the symptoms that help in the identification of the future special needs educators.

1. For the symptom of inattention, nine associated behaviours can be described.

  • Failing to give close attention to details or making careless mistakes in schoolwork, work, or other activities.
  • Difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities.
  • Not seeming to listen when spoken to directly.
  • Not following through on instructions and failing to finish school work, chores, or duties in the workplace (not due to oppositional behaviour or failure to understand instructions)
  • Difficulty organizing tasks and activities.
  • Avoiding, disliking, or being reluctant to engage in tasks that require sustained mental effort (such as schoolwork or homework).
  • Losing things necessary for tasks or activities (e.g., toys, school assignments, pencils, books, or tools).
  • Being easily distracted by extraneous stimuli.
  • Being forgetful in daily activities.

2. For the symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity, the following behaviours are described.

  • Fidgeting with hands or feet or squirming in seat.
  • Leaving their seat in classroom or in other situations in which remaining seated is expected.
  • Running around or climbing excessively in situations in which it is inappropriate (in adolescents or adults, may be limited to subjective feelings of restlessness).
  • Difficulty playing or engaging in leisure activities quietly.
  • Being ‘on the go’ or often acting as if ‘driven by a motor’.
  • Talking excessively.
  • Blurting out answers before questions have been completed.
  • Difficulty awaiting turn.
  • Interrupting or intruding on others (e.g., butting into conversations or games).

Judging from the last 6 months of behaviour, if a child meets 6 out of the 9 criteria for the symptom of inattention, they could have primarily inattentive ADHD. If they meet 6 out of the 9 criteria for hyperactivity and impulsivity, they could have primarily hyperactive ADHD. If they meet both criteria, they could be diagnosed with combined ADHD. These are the symptoms that the learners of the special needs courses online should understand and inculcate for making things easier for the future, when they start teaching the students with special needs.

3. The following behaviours can be seen in students for the identification of the symptoms of Autism.

  • Lack of babbling or pointing by age one.
  • Lack of any single words by 16 months age.
  • Lack of response to name being called.
  • Poor eye contact.
  • Excessive need for quiet and order.
  • Lack of smiling or responsiveness to others.
  • Weakness in making friends or relating to peers.
  • Lack of ability to engage in conversation.
  • Repetitive actions.
  • Repetitive or strange language patterns.
  • Obsession-like preoccupation with objects or conversational subjects.

The above list is by no means comprehensive or authoritative. Since autism is a spectrum, these or other signs of autism may manifest in various degrees. Parents who witness these symptoms in their child are urged to consult the opinion of the professionals for diagnosis, and in many cases the educators can also be of great help in this concern. However, these educators should have an understanding about the same, which they should learn promptly during their time as the learners of the special needs courses online.

4. There are three common signs that a child has dyslexia, which are elaborated in the following lines.

  • Difficulty pronouncing and rhyming words

Children of all abilities can sometimes mispronounce words; however, parents should take note when a child has frequent and lingering trouble figuring out vowel sounds or when they switch syllables when saying a word such as “butterfly,” pronouncing it as “flutter-by” instead. Also children with potential dyslexia may not easily be able to recognize or rhyme words at an early age, even very simple ones like “cat” and “bat.”

  • Slow, inaccurate reading skills

Young children with dyslexia are often not able to sound out unknown words on their own, and therefore may guess at words based on context or skip the word altogether. Because they are slower to develop their reading skills, parents may notice reluctance, hesitation, or anxiety about reading.

  • Poor spelling skills

Although it is common for all children to confuse “b” and “d,” as well as other letters, this confusion tends to disappear at an early age for normal readers and linger for a longer time with children who may be dyslexic. Children with dyslexia have great difficulty with spelling. Errors can be of several types, such as leaving out a vowel or consonant letter, or omitting whole syllables in their spelling.

The aforementioned points define the symptoms which help in the identification of the young learners with special needs in a prompt manner. These symptoms should be inculcated by the future special needs educators, who are currently pursuing the special needs courses online and preparing for the future.

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