About special education teachers
Special education teachers are teachers who have done extra training to support students with disability or learning, social or behaviour difficulties. They create learning environments and programs to help students get the most out of education.
Special education teachers work directly with students. They also provide professional advice, support and mentoring to classroom teachers and other school support staff on:
- setting goals for students based on areas of strength and difficulty
- catering for a range of learning needs in classrooms
- working with families to create the best learning opportunities for students at school and at home
- using the right equipment and resources to support learning needs
- meeting the Disability Standards for Education
- developing a school culture that makes all students feel included
- developing positive partnerships with other disability services.
Specialist education teachers work in special schools, special education units in mainstream schools, mainstream classrooms and other settings. They can be support teachers, classroom teachers, teachers who work across several different schools or teachers who work with community groups or in community programs.
Special education teachers might also be called inclusive education teachers or learning support teachers.
Why children might work with special education teachers
Your child might work with a special education teacher if they need a specially designed learning program or extra support for learning or coping at school.
For example, your child might need additional support because of:
- attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- a communication disorder including language disorder or speech disorder
- deafness or hearing loss
- developmental delay
- intellectual disability
- low vision or blindness
- physical disability
- social and emotional difficulties or traumatic events
- a specific learning disorder including dyslexia.
Special education teachers also support students with additional needs when they change schools or move between grades.
Getting a special education teacher
Your child’s teacher might talk with you if they think your child might benefit from additional learning support.
But you don’t have to wait for your child’s teacher. If you feel your child is struggling with their learning, talk with your child’s teacher and school principal as soon as possible.
Schools cover the cost of specialist education teachers and services. If you choose to use services outside the school, you can ask the school about options and financial support. Your child might be able to get funding through the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) or you might need to cover the costs yourself.