Teaching special education can be rewarding, but it can also be pretty tough. Taking on a roomful of students with extra needs means you as a teacher need to be extra prepared. You don’t have to do it all on your own though! Here are a few great resources for special education teachers.
TeacherVision is a website designed just for teacher. It contains a wealth of information for teaching all ages and subjects, including special education. It’s filled with worksheets, digital books, quizzes, and games for kids, as well as management and time saving tricks, assessment forms, and lesson plans for teachers. The special education section has a range of information for parents and teachers, for a variety of different kids. These resources include teaching strategies for kids with ADHD or Autism and Asperger’s, classroom management and assessment, educational technology incorporation, and subject-specific incorporation. It does come with a price—$6.99 a month, or $39.95 a year—but you get unlimited access and a 7 day trial period to ensure your satisfaction.
The Education Commission of the States is a national website formed around the “interstate compact on education policy” derived over 50 years ago. The goal of this was to enable communication, encourage awareness of educational issues, and “give voice to the diverse interests, needs, and traditions of states.” ECS provides resources regarding education laws, special education workshops, and networking options so you can stay up-to-date on research and rulings. The National Education Association is not specifically aimed at special education teachers, but does include a lot of helpful insight for any type of teacher. Not only does it provide current news regarding special education, but you can also find some great guides to common special education issues (such as Truth in Labeling: Disproportionality in Special Education).
Many of these resources lack any sort of forum or community that allows you to reach out to other special education teachers. Having someone in a similar position with different experience is one of the most important and rewarding resources you can have. Many social media sites offer places for like-minded individuals to find each other, such as this Facebook group, offering you the resource of experience. The best part is, if you can’t find one that meets your needs, you can easily make one of your own!
National Association of Special Education Teachers
NASET is “the only national membership organization dedicated solely to meeting the needs of special education teachers and those preparing for the field of special education teaching.” You can become a member through their website or by mail—they also offer the option to gift memberships or join as a group, if several teachers at your school would like to be a part of it. Individual memberships run about $29.50 a year. Through their website, you can gain access to lectures and educational information about special needs, a monthly publication, teacher-parent resources, upcoming conferences and events, IEP development, licensing information, and even job postings. NASET’s goal is to not only provide special education teachers with support that was distinctly lacking, but also to improve special education for its students.
Note: NASET is not the only organization for special education teachers anymore. There are many different societies available to help you out, ranging from the broad (i.e. National Center for Learning Disabilities) to the specific (i.e. International Dyslexia Association).