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5 Effective Tips for Teachers to Handle the Multiple Special Needs

12th June 2020

Is there a student with multiple disabilities in your class?

How can you deal with the student’s different kinds of learning needs in a positive way?

What are those effective ways that will help the student with multiple special needs learn?

Well, have you ever come across these types of challenging questions? We are sure you have in your teaching career because it is normal in any kinds of comprehensive classrooms. Without a doubt, this can make several instructive challenges like -


  • Finding a proper setting which is appropriate to the child’s aptitude intensity
  • The child’s capacity to function in the classroom
  • Considering and balancing the optical and hearing impairments
  • The child’s aptitude to communicate efficiently with teachers and peers

There are many more, but these are the familiar common edifying challenges that revolve around teaching children with multiple special needs.

Definition of Multiple Disabilities or Multiple Special Needs

According to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act’s (IDEA), multiple disabilities refer to “concomitant [simultaneous] impairments (such as intellectual disability-blindness, intellectual disability-orthopaedic impairment, etc.), the combination of which causes such severe educational needs that they cannot be accommodated in a special education program solely for one of the impairments. The term does not include deaf-blindness.

It is a broad term, simply meaning that the child has more than one special need. The permutation of special need causes the child to have harsh instructive needs that cannot be addressed by providing the special education services which are only for one of the impairments.

Significant Causes of Multiple Disabilities or Multiple Special Needs

What grounded the multiple disabilities? Well, frequently, no one knows. However, with some special needs children the cause is recognized, let’s see:


  • Early or premature birth
  • Abnormalities in chromosome
  • Difficulties after birth
  • Different kinds of infections
  • Any types of injuries from accidents
  • Genetic disorders
  • Deprived development of the brain or spinal cord

The consequence is the child has multiple disabilities, no matter whatever the cause is. Luckily, there’s help existing along with teaching techniques too. Continue reading to find out more.

So, what kinds of teaching and learning support do children with multiple disabilities require?

To teach a child with multiple disabilities, it’s significant to recognize that what kinds of specific disabilities are involved, how severe it is and how it is affecting the learning and daily living of the child.

Supporting the Students with Multiple Disabilities ----

1. Deal with the different behavioural issues of the child. The special needs frequently have an effect on the child’s behaviour along with a mixture of different special needs that can be quite troublemaking. If the child’s performance is disturbing his or her learning practice or the learning of other peers then find the effective teaching strategies. These types of students with numerous special needs always need support in every aspect of their existence, both in the classroom and outside.

2. Modify the IEP (Individual Education Plan) of the child. Ask for the IEP program supports or changes that you want to be included in the IEP program. Generally, the IEP program prepares a sequence of different learning objectives like the different categories of educational feat or adapting the life skills, basic yes/no communication, or hygiene etc.

3. Incorporate the Assistive Technology. This can be an efficient teaching tool for students with multiple special needs in overcoming the communicative restrictions. To establish the suitable technical support for students with multiple special needs, a selection of assessments should be conducted by the trained professionals. All the needs have to be measured in applying the most successful support structure like positioning the language, motor skills, as well as sensory issues etc. These types of learners are being benefited from technologies such as the computerized talkers or tablets greatly.

4. Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) teaching technique is another way through which you can teach students with multiple special needs. Learners with many sensory, cognitive, and physical special needs have been a fundamental concern for special education and supporting them through a meaningful communication is must. Well, the most understandable choice of communicative skills is sign language that can assist the communication process and can be very effective in this situation. However, this can sometimes be a restrictive communication approach and over the last thirty years, use of augmentative communication methods has risen. It can be described as any teaching practice, piece of equipment, or method that provides the support and strengthen the communication. This technique can consist of substantial and tangible symbol structures, selection boards, object prompts as well as symbols, physical prompting, along with any number of systems that are dependent on computer.

5. Another major concern is safety for students with multiple special needs, particularly those learners with medical issues or mobility troubles. Sometimes, these children are pertinent to collapse and hurt themselves; sometimes they have a need of some other form of urgent consideration and attention. As a special needs educator, these issues you should outlined in the student's IEP cautiously, moreover, you also should be continuously observe for any forewarning signs and if you see it then you have to get ready to call for help if needed.

Nevertheless, there is no specific teaching approach to deal with students with multiple disabilities as the special needs differ from one child to another. Their needs are so wide-ranging that a proper care is necessary while choosing the best strategy for teaching which a vital part of different online special needs courses. But remember: teaching the special needs children is not at all an easy job. Supporting these types of students is absolutely a team endeavour, consult with the parents and support agencies, and collectively make your mind up how you can help them in your class.




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