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ESL forum > Techniques and methods in Language Teaching > Help needed for special needs students    

Help needed for special needs students

United States

Help needed for special needs students
Dear colleagues,
I work in a Secondary Low School in a very multicultural area of a big town in Italy. It means that English is not a second language for my students, but a third and a fourth language. And it is a challenge to teach English where Italian is a foreign language itself. Besides, the area is very poor, so my students often cannot afford to buy books or other school materials. I do not know your school systems, but here in Italy special needs students share lessons and classes with mainstream students and it is great. But it means that in my class I may have four or five different learning troubles-ADHD, dyslexia, autism, OCD etc. I have got six classes and I feel I am leaving these students out. I do not want it. I want to include them as much as possible. I wonder if you could advise me about some websites where I could download some working material for SEN students, or if you could tell me about good books etc. Take into consideration that a large part of the problem is linguistical.....and if possible tell me about free materials...I would like to buy books for all of them but I cannot afford it. Any advice is more than welcome, and I know I will get wonderful advice here. Thank you again.

12 Dec 2015      


                             Hi Effedi,
            I don �t have any students with special needs and I have only had a student who had hyperactivity, but as far as I know in Turkey our government applies mainstreaming for such childern as yours do and for those kids we have a special programme called "Individualised Education Programme". I have lots colleagues on my facebook. I can ask them if they have any students with special needs, and if they have I can get materials or at least website addresses for you. BTW, teaching is knnown to be a sacred job in my country, and I think your job is more sacred than mine.  I will try my best to help you.
                           Gülgün ÖZTÜRK 

12 Dec 2015     


Here �s a link to a website wich deals with many special educational needs problems, such as autism, ADHD, dyslexia and many others.
The link ends in "dyslexia" but if you go straight to the site, I �m sure you �ll find something useful for you and your students.

12 Dec 2015     

United Kingdom

Hi Flavia,
I sympathise with you! It �s great having the special needs kids and the new-to-language (beginners at English) in with the mainstream classes, but it creates difficulties. If you can have them out for withdrawal sessions, you can address their specific needs. If you can �t, then either you sit them apart with something different, or you have to differentiate the material, so that they can be working on the same topic, but at their level. I �m continuing this in a pm (!)
...And to continue with some general advice... If you want wss at a very basic level, MES English is excellent. There is all sorts. http://mes-english.com/
I have a box in my classroom in which I put cut-outs from magazines. The students take a picture (I usually have pictures with people doing things). They stick it onto a sheet of A3 and they annotate. They answer, insofar as they can, the wh question words. If they can�t write sentences, they write single words. Colours/shapes/clothes etc. Once they have done this, they have to LOOK, COVER, WRITE. They have to learn what they have written. They do this in their exercise books - no cheating by looking at the original sheet! 
While the rest of the class is reading and writing, get students at a basic level to pick out and write down the words beginning with R, or whatever letter... They can make a grid to do this. 
If you want them doing the same topic as the rest of the class, have you time to do a few simple gap fill activities? A life saver for me in this situation is TaskMagic, but you have to buy it. Actually, I think you can get a 3 month free trial... It�s well worth it. http://www.mdlsoft.co.uk/index.php 
It does all the differentiation for you and you can print wss off, too. 
This looks nice. 
Anyway... just a few ideas. There is no magic wand, sadly.
All the best, you are one brave lady!


13 Dec 2015     

United States

I must say I am touched, really. I want to thank publicly also Sarguero who sent me a complete lessons plan.  The answer of Gulgunmurat put tears in my eyes. And thank so much to lobocloud for the link. And Cunliffe....you are an angel. Really, I am grateful. I think that Gulgunmurat is right, our work is a calling and I have just met some beautiful souls.
((((((((HUGS))))))))) to you all!!!

13 Dec 2015