About special education teachers

Special education teachers are usually teachers who have done extra training to support students with disability, learning difficulties and behaviour disorders.

They are experts in a wide range of disabilities and special needs. They create learning environments and programs to help all students get the most out of their education. They also support students with special needs when they change schools.

Special education teachers work directly with students who have special needs throughout their school years. They’re often involved in early childhood intervention services too. And they work in special schools, special education units, mainstream schools and other settings.

Special education teachers provide professional advice, support and mentoring to classroom teachers on:

  • how best to cater for the many different learning needs in the classroom
  • how to work with families to create the best possible learning opportunities for students at school and at home
  • what school staff need to do to meet the Disability Standards for Education
  • what school staff need to do to develop a school culture that makes all students feel included
  • how school staff and families can develop positive relationships and partnerships with other disability services.

Special education teachers can be support teachers, classroom teachers, teachers who work across several different schools or teachers who work with community groups or in community programs.

Why your child might see a special education teacher

Your child might work with a special education teacher if she needs a specially designed learning program or extra support for her learning.

For example, your child might have a confirmed disability, such as dyslexia, ADHD, autism spectrum disorder, vision impairment, hearing impairment or another disability that makes learning a challenge.

Special education teachers help school staff change things in the school, classroom and curriculum so that all students can take part in all school activities and have the best chance of doing well.

If you feel your child is struggling with his learning, it’s a good idea to talk with your child’s class teacher and school principal.

Getting a special educator teacher

If your child needs special education support services, the school – and possibly someone from your state or territory education department – will talk with you.

Your child might be able to get a special education teacher as well as other services such as an assistant teacher or occupational therapist, or special equipment or technology to help with learning.

Costs

The school covers the cost of specialist education teachers and services. If you choose to use services outside the school, you’ll probably need to cover these costs yourself.

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