Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) is a central and state ordered program for young children with any kind of physical problem. It has been specifically created to encourage and promote the individual needs and over-all growth of each child with any kind of disability.
When small children with any kind of developmental disabilities—or at a probable risk for them—get support from an early age, then they begin to show many optimistic changes in the different sectors of their life, like health, language, communication, cognitive, and socio-economic development.
The process of early childhood special education promotes development from all angles, like intellectual, physical, emotional and social development. Some of the specific objectives of the early childhood special education are ensuring that every child feels that he/ she is valued, safe and secure and is able to inculcate an attitude of positive self-worth.
Through the education, the child should be able to develop a solid foundation of confidence and proper physical, emotional and gross motor skills.
What does Early Childhood Special Education Really Mean?
Early Childhood Special Education refers to free, appropriate, specially designed lessons for meeting the specific needs of a play-school going child with any kind of a physical, emotional and mental disability.
Special education is for the children who have identified disabilities. The specially designed instruction has been planned and created in order to meet the different learning requirements for special children, by giving them a chance to promote and develop their fullest potential.
A child requires special educational or special needs if he/ she faces any kind of learning problem or disability, which makes it problematic for him/ her to learn properly as compared to the other children of his/ her age.
The problems could be related to schoolwork, being unable to communicate or general social behaviour around other people. In such a case, the parents do not need to give up. They can take the help or advice of different specialists, teachers, doctors and many such voluntary organisations.
Importance and Benefits of Early Childhood Special Education
Early childhood special education is just like a training plan being followed for small children. During the process of learning, small children tend to gain all kind of social, emotional, physical and cognitive development, which is required for having a brighter tomorrow. If a child is able to get correct and proper early childhood education then it will help him/ her develop a lifelong love for learning.
Let us learn about some benefits of early childhood special education.
- Able to interact with people: If a child with special needs feels confident from childhood, then he/ she will be able to interact with the other people (even strangers) without any hesitation. The concept of early childhood education is to help such children overcome any or all kinds of uncertainties.
- Inculcating the habit of sharing and cooperating: Early grooming, love and affection helps build the habit of sharing and cooperation among young children. It is specifically essential for those children who do not have sibling; and are not prone to sharing things. In such a case, creating a safe and happy environment will promote the good habits of sharing things and cooperating with others.
- Whole-sole development: Early childhood specific education promotes and leads to all round development of a child. The teachers who take care of small children are specifically trained so that they are able to recognise the weakness of a child and encourage him/ her to improve to become better.
- Excited for life-long learning: If taught in a fun and interactive manner, the children will develop a hunger for learning that will continue their entire life. This excitement and interest for learning will keep them updated and ahead of the others their whole lives!
- Importance of education: When the children are able to gain knowledge and information and also apply it in their lives, then they realise the importance of education from an early age and show respect towards it their whole life.
- Respect other people: If children in early age and school start to become respectful towards one another, then they begin to understand the concept of respect and also realise that it is not limited to just people and their belongings, but also to the nearby environment.
- Teamwork: Through early childhood education children learn teamwork from an early age itself. This assists in improving the child’s attitude in working together with his/ her friends or classmates.
- Improves concentration: If the children in their early childhood itself get involved in different types of play school tasks and activities then it leads to higher levels of concentration in them. If such types of activities keep on repeating then it improves their concentration skills.
- Calm and patience: In early childhood itself, if the children learn to be calm and patient then they will be able to handle all the difficult situations in their future life. Experiences such as waiting for their turn in the queue or for their teacher’s attention will make the children realise that they have to be patient for their turn.
- Diverse backgrounds: Children of diverse backgrounds come together in schools. During early childhood when they get exposed to different backgrounds, they are able to accept the differences in the society with a positive mind and attitude. This leads to them growing up and becoming better human beings.
7 Easy to Implement Process of Promoting Early Childhood Special Education
There are many children who face difficulty and struggle with their learning and progressive abilities. Even though parents are able to identify such problems in their children’s lives, but at times, they are unable to understand how to help them.
Some of the problems that children in their early age face are unable to retain information, dyslexia, and other such reading problems. Some children even face certain behavioral problems.
In order to overcome such problems, special education is promoted during early childhood. Parents should also become aware of this education process of promoting early childhood special education. The following are seven major processes that are followed for promoting early childhood special education:
1. Recognising the need for early childhood special education
In order to promote early childhood special education, one must first identify the need for it. It is necessary to find out the demand for it and understand how it can be fulfilled. To do so the market needs to be explored to learn about the demand for the early childhood education in the market.
A child with special need has some special needs that need to be fulfilled. Doing so, will help him in his early education and he/ she will flourish in a better manner.
2. Helping the special children fulfill their dreams of normal childhood
Being made to feel different from the others is the worst form of trauma for any child. So, when a special child is made to feel different than the rest of the children, it will disturb him. Hence, we need to promote from early childhood itself the feeling of equality.
This will help these children and show quite positive results in their behaviour. They will become much easier to handle and well apt at explaining their thoughts, emotions and feelings.
3. Creating a group with children of different cultures
Children with special needs generally feel calmer when they are around people/ children belonging to different cultures or places or even those who don’t look alike. When such a situation occurs they tend to make happy and positive relationships with quite an ease.
This is generally because if one particular trait in a person tends to scare or disturb them in any way, then some other trait in another person tends to calms them down. So, the condition gets balanced out in the group.
4. Integrated approach
Children of today think that the internet is most important for them. They are more technology friendly than the adults who have the job of guiding them. So, in order to understand these kids, their teachers must also become comfortable with the concept of the internet and technology so that they are able to help the children from the childhood itself.
The internet can help the teacher understand the interests and strengths of the students from an early age. They will get a deeper understanding of the tools available online, which will help them to enhance their learning methods.
5. Setting of goals
If from an early age, children are involved in the goal-setting process for themselves then they tend to become independent. They also learn and begin to take ownership for their actions. It also gives them confidence of other people having faith in them.
In the early childhood, the procedure of setting goals can be done in a very easy and simple manner – like, regularly talking with the children about how they want to plan their day or what do they want to do.
6. Cross curriculum training
In order to promote special education, a singular type of curriculum is also needed. This curriculum has to cover different kinds of subjects and activities offered in the school, other than the regular education.
Some of the subjects that are taught in this process are general, like English, Hindi, Science or Math while some other are for building their confidence, like promoting inter-personal skills, how to overcome daily life struggles, art, and vocational as well.
7. Assessing whatever the child has learnt
Another important aspect of the special education, which is imparted to the children from the early age, is a regular assessment of whatever they have learnt. This is done in order to analyse that whether the process that is being followed is being fruitful in case of the individual child or not.
It is also important in case of special children as all these children are unique. So, what might work for one child might not for the other. A regular assessment will then help the teacher/ parent make regular or relevant modification in the process being followed, accordingly.
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The process of promoting early childhood special education in schools is used for helping these children overcome all their problems. Mostly such children have small to specific special educational requirements. In this article, we studied about the various processes that need to be followed in order to be more beneficial and helpful to the child.
Schools offer special education that is particularly customised for early age learning. It is aimed at giving a complete child-centric, holistic learning experience for those children who have special needs. This curriculum of this kind of education intends to encourage and create the students’ potential.
It also wishes to provide them with the basic and necessary knowledge and life skills that are required for them to succeed.