LEAven Blog


3 – 2 – 1 … Blastoff! Starting the Year Off Right for Students with Special Needs

As the next school year approaches and you begin to survey the students on your class list, do you ever see the name of a particular student and feel alarmed? How will you prepare for your students with special needs? Here are three things you can do to help prepare.


Look at the student’s file. Do you see trends in grades or test scores? Look for STRENGTHS not just weaknesses. Students usually know what is hard for them. Helping students learn to use their strengths to overcome a weakness is a powerful tool. Look for ways to build on strengths. Beware of talking to past teachers. Ask about what worked well, and avoid negative conversations about what didn’t work or how difficult the year was.

Plan ahead

Think about what you can do on the 1st day of school to form a positive relationship. Are there recommended accommodations from a 504 plan or IEP? Plan how you can implement them from the beginning. Don’t wait until a student fails to use recommended accommodations. This can make entering your classroom a negative experience. Start with success rather than failure. Plan on using those accommodations all year.


Is there a specific medical or educational diagnosis or diagnoses? Have you worked with a student like this before? If not, learn about that particular topic and how it effects students in classroom settings. Search for strategies that work.

https://www.additudemag.com/ and https://www.understood.org/ are two great places to find information about attention and learning issues. Add to your tool box and plan to add to theirs.

All this for one student? Yes! All of your students benefit when you grow as a teacher. May God bless your efforts!

Photo Attribution:  <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/photos/school’>School photo created by gpointstudio – www.freepik.com</a> and Adobe Stock Wavebreak3  #246457206  Used by Permission

Mara Springer serves students, parents, and teachers as an education specialist for Lutheran Association for Special Education (LASE) in St. Louis, Missouri. She is passionate about making a Christian education accessible to as many children as possible, regardless of their learning needs. She also enjoys being a wife and mother.

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