The Role of Special Teacher in the Special Education


Firstly I have to write about what other scientist thought and wrote about the teacher of the Special School (after this special-teacher), mainly in Europe. Deinhart and Gerorgens (1861, Germany) wrote a two volumes book about "how to teach handicapped children". They say that the special-teacher's duty is a "curative or medical education" (Heilerziehung). In Hungary we still use this name Hungarian version, gyógypedagógus(curative-pedagogy), for the special-teacher.
A.R. in the "Handbook of mental deficiency" calls the special teacher's speciality for "neurological compensation". It means that the special-teachers work is educational rehabilitation, psycho-pedagogy, re-adaptation, compensation, correction, regeneration and education,while the normal teacher usually uses the last one the education function.
After all these - as a special-teacher - my personal opinion about this, the special-teacher speciality is not just a kind of education or teaching method. This job is more habilitation and rehabilitation then teaching. It is not "only" a teaching (to give suitable knowledge and information for students), it make a kind of life-style. The special-teacher not working only with school age children, they start to work sometimes right after the birth, with the early-developmental method and they teach after school age too, during the adult hood.
It gives us a 3-point time scale:
1. upbringing (teach handicapped children after birth, not only from school age)
2. education (this is not finishing after school age, continuing during the life span)
3. personality development (this is the main part of the individual developmental theory during life span)
In the 70's Wolfensberger, Nirje and Bank-Mikkelsen made a strategy how to take care of handicapped people during their life. This concept name is "Normalisation in human services". Ever since this way of thinking influenced the whole Special Education and is still continuing. The eventual goal of this theory is to adjust these children to be larger society of non-handicapped before they leave school. After this they may have a life as near normal as possible.
The other hand is - why special is this job - that this has close relationship with sciences. During the last century many science developed more than during the previous 500 years (e.g. 15 years ago, we knew a small number of neurotransmitters; these last 5 years, we discovered much more ones and has much of detailed knowledge, that is why we call the last ten years "the decade of the brain"). Because the special education has a strong relationship with other sciences the new approaches strongly changed it. It is enough if we think about the prenatal-diagnosis, the period of incubator, neurological results, psychological and sociological methods etc. This transition is still continuing, so the special educators have to pay attention for all these sciences to use the new results to make more effective the therapy and the care of the handicapped people. We call this "a paradigm changing" during science-development. This is all part of the special-teacher's duty, that is the reason why they are different from the teachers of normal education. Figure 1. summarise this part(see Fig. 1)

The special-teachers other speciality is that s/he has to work a kind of academic-work (educational approach) and therapeutic-work (medical, psychological approach) in the same time. That makes him/her a specially trained teacher that is why also different from the normal teacher. The special education has to concentrate for the next 7 developmental fields to make the best educational conditions:
1. behaviour
2. social skills
3. language skills
4. emotional skills
5. self-care skills
6. cognitive skills
7. academic development
To make all these, the special-teacher has to work together with others like doctors, psychologist, social-workers etc(see the figure above) to make a team, to do a teamwork. To make the best developmental plan for the child and to understand each other, the special-teacher need a greater amount of knowledge about anatomy, neurology, pathology, psychology and sociology etc. It means they must have a special knowledge of many different sciences, that is why their job name is in English "Special Education" and that is why they call it a "Complex Science". In this case the special teachers work is to manage the teamwork, to make the developmental-plan for the children together with the others on the base of such a knowledege, because s/he will be the one, who is making the effective therapy with the child.