First Steps in Curriculum Planning
As a new special ed teacher, you are possibly wondering what on earth you are meant to teach to your class, and how you can design curriculum for special ed students that will meet the students' needs while showing that you are accountable and delivering content which is achievable, measurable and reasonable. The list of challenges can sometimes seem almost overwhelming! Relax - help is at hand. Let's look first at some basic student needs as they fall into some simple categories:
Physical needs - this can include the need for meal assistance, eating, drinking skills, physical mobility, gross and fine motor skill development, game playing, operating in an indoor or outdoor PE environment, and toileting support.
Cognitive needs - this can include developing thinking processes such as critical thinking, reasoning, using judgment and making decisions and choices (with a wide variety of levels depending on your students and their level of intellectual disability).
Emotional needs - this can include the ability to express oneself to describe emotions, using emotion based language, showing thoughts and feelings through facial expression and gesture etc.
Social needs - this can include interacting with others, making friendships, clear social expression, asking and responding to questions, taking turns and listening to others in a group situation.
Communication needs - there is some cross over with communication into many of the other areas, as it is such a vital and wide ranging topic. Communication needs can include giving a yes / no response, using a reliable communication system (such as a communication board, gesture, sign or a voice output device), interacting with others outside the school environment and sharing and expressing views in an appropriate way at school and in public.
Independence needs - this can include using public transport, organizing belongings, taking out the correct tools and equipment for a task, assisting others when needed, taking initiative, showing leadership, dealing with unexpected events and taking responsibility for activities of daily living.