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ESL forum > Techniques and methods in Language Teaching > Special needs students learning English    

Special needs students learning English


Special needs students learning English
Iīd like to ask how you or your schools approach the English learning process of students with special needs like dyspraxia, ADHD dyslexia, autism spectrum disorder, among others. In the school where I work we just receive certificates from  specialists such as psychologuists o neurologists  asking for extension of time or Spanish instructions, or an oral make up test but all this does not always help  students, especially when it comes to evaulation.
Would you please share you insights, thoughts, experiences, links, papers or whatever enlightened material you may have?
I would really appreciate that and and Iīm willing to share my experience and what I have too.
Regards from Chile! 

13 Mar 2019      

Hong Kong

That is a big question. Here in Hong Kong there are many special schools available where every teacher is a qualified in special needs and there are two teachers in every class. There is also a counsellor at the school every day, and a lot of specialised equipment for the kids. My son is currently primary two in a special needs school because of his autism. His school is run by the Buddhists Association. Iīm happy with his education. You may be interested to know that most of the kids there have Downs Syndrome.
It is fair to say that the vast majority of special needs kids are mainstreamed into local schools and private schools. This has its good and bad points. The teachers are very good at understanding their needs and trying to help them when they can but itīs near impossible with 30 kids in every class to cater for a few special needs kids. And there are always a few in every class that should be getting extra attention. They donīt have any extra lessons by qualified teachers, just a social worker who comes two or three times a week and then its not for lessons, its for assessment and monitoring.
So generally speaking things are worked out by the parents and teachers with little or no extra lessons or management. But I have been teaching here for ten years and in my opinion , the situation is managed very well with a lot of care and understanding by everyone. Teaching techniques plays a big part in helping these kids. Besides that … Not much we can do without extra funding for facilities and extra teachers, besides throwing your heart and soul into all the kids.

14 Mar 2019     

Czech Republic

that sounds very similar to the situation in the Czech Republic. I am a special needs teacher (at least in theory) but they teach you close to nothing practical during your studies - well, that is at least my opinion and experience, too much theory and too little practice, it all comes with your own teaching. I basically learn and teach by trial and mistake.
Right now I am teaching at a special school for physically disabled kids. We are getting higher and higher number of autistic kids every year. I do not teach those as they usually have a rather severe mental disability as well so they have no English at all. I only get an occassinally a pupil with only certain autistic syptoms but still easily managable in the usaul classroom with little alteration - picture vocabulary, matching and filling gaps exercises, I simplify everything, link the vocabs from all the grades, build up on it, alter all downloaded materials so it exactly fits my pupils needs, even sometimes make my own listenings. My situation doesn´t truly fit your target group of pupils but I will follow your thread nontheless, as this topic interests me a lot. 
In the past three years our educational system has undergone drastic changes and the pupils with mild mental disability have the same curriculum as the other pupils which means the English teachers have nothing but their our ideas to deal with it. There are no suitable books and guidelines for us to follow. I consulted several teachers via different teaching groups and they are in agreement. It seems that either the publishing houses have no idea what these kids need or the target market group is so insignificant for them to even try to come up with something. To complicate the matters even more, usually at small speacial needs schools there is only one language teacher so you are left with no one to consult even if the superiors are willing to help they just don´t know the field so you are left all alone to deal with it. I hope to create a group of teachers where we would exchange our ideas and materials, something like this site because creating all the teaching material is extremely demanding, it was sort of okay before I had kids but right now I just cannot spend so much time doing it all by myself. 
I hope someone will answer with some useful tips. Fingers crossed and wishing you lots of energy, ideas and luck. It is not an easy situation and the answers are scarce. 
Best regards,

14 Mar 2019     


I also teach Special Needs, and I agree with the previous statements...sadly. I donīt think our government really cares….
I teach in a public school in France - ie = state schools, no fees for the families..
I usually have an adult with kids with Learning disabilities, but….not always !  In the last few years, things have gotten worse...
I usually try to have them involved in the class, and participate. BUT - I am not a qualified teacher( with these kids ) , and even though I try to do my best, I might be soooooooo wrong sometimes...
I feel I donīt get enough help from our government. Itīs kind of : " OK. You teach English. Teach him/her..!"
I try to have these kids play ( with  cards, boardgames, word games…) I do not give them marks, but colours to see how they are improving or not….I try to  have them communicate with other pupils. Sometimes it works, sometimes, it doesnīt….
I feel we ( in France ) really need qualified people to look after these kids. But money has become more important than kids, it seems….
I feel very worried, and often depressed. These children are very often so great! But they can be violent too. I do not have the answer, but I know for sure our society is ….wrong….somewhere. I wish humans were ...greater.
They are not.

17 Mar 2019     


Well, Italian government provides lots of courses for teachers, some of them are about teaching to students with special needs. When a students have a diagnosis or a certificate, teachers must write a plan for him/her, including contents, methodologies, objectives to achieve, kind of tests, helpers, evaluation scales etc. It is a quite complicate and long form to fill in (about 20 pages for each student) and all the teachers involved in the class usually share ideas while writing. 
As ESL teacher I usually refer to foreign platforms in order to get practical examples or tips. In addition, some text books provide easier materials for special needs.
However, the most depends on the teacher and class management (I often let ss work in pairs, for example, or use peer tutoring activities) 

20 Mar 2019     


Your feedback from different countries is very valuable for me... What if we start a change? I really want to do some  research about special needs, it´s compulsory in this times!!! I would love to participate in  research or any kind of insight about creating the strategies to teach and been able to really help these students.
If any of you is in search of this or has information which he/she wants to share please please please contact me!!! 
Regards from Chile! 

27 Mar 2019     

United States

Hello friends. Learning English is not an easy task, especially for students with special needs. The training program is very intensive and often you have to write essays that drive you crazy. Therefore, I recommend that you seek help from professionals who can provide online thesis help quickly and efficiently. It is very convenient and profitable.

27 Oct 2022