What Does It Take To Be A Special Education Counselor?

Learning is not an easy process. Every child has the right to learn everything they need to be successful in life. And as educators, you are primarily tasked to hone the skills and talents of your pupils. You should recognize how each student has different characteristics, making them unique. Some may excel better than others in most areas, while some may take time to figure out where they do great.

Some children may also have specific learning disabilities. These hinder them from achieving their true potential. These children also may have difficulties honing their skills and adjusting to certain situations. If you do not address these at an early age,  they may have problems in their social and emotional functioning in the future.

This is why children with special needs must receive special education. A special education counselor ensures that their special needs are met so they can perform better in school. Read further to know what it takes to be a special education counselor.

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What Is Special Education Counseling?

Special education counseling is considered a specialization of school counseling. This branch is particularly concerned with aiding students with special needs. Children under this category may have learning disabilities. They may have mental retardation, which causes them to develop more slowly than other children. Some may also have speech and language impairment, making them unable to express themselves.  Other children may have physical disabilities. They may have vision problems, an underdeveloped body, or other conditions.

The main goal of this type of counseling is to provide them access to intervention programs. These programs place children in a curriculum tailored to their learning ability. For instance, if the child has visual difficulties, teaching sessions may emphasize touch and sensations.

Special education counseling provides assistance and support to their families as well. For instance, counselors can teach parents important strategies in managing their children’s needs.

Most importantly, counseling also helps children achieve important milestones in a school environment. It helps with their academic and intellectual growth. This counseling is also concerned with improving their ability to function socially and emotionally.

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Roles Of A Special Education Counselor

Special education counselors must be aware of their student’s individual needs. They should be able to help them achieve their full potential. As a special education counselor, you need to help them receive individualized education programs (IEP). Children who received IEP can quickly adjust to certain situations. In this case, introducing them to this program at an early age is vital. It can make a lot of difference in their academic learning and emotional health. 

Special education classes can also be diverse. It is crucial to know each child’s weaknesses and strengths. So, you can equally advocate for these children. To be a good special education counselor, you need to fulfill these roles:

  • Perform counseling sessions with special education students
  • Encourage the family to be involved in the child’s IEP
  • Collaborate with other school staff to make adaptations and modifications based on your student’s needs
  • Collaborate with other professionals such as therapists to ensure a holistic approach in teaching
  • Assess and identify students who can be eligible for special education

Special education counselors ensure that their students’ needs are primarily met. They can also refer families to outside resources if they have to. These may include family counselors, vocational trainers, and other non-profit organizations.

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Should You Become A Special Education Counselor

Before you become a special education counselor, you need to consider the job outlook for this profession. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the job outlook for special education counselors is good. There is an estimated 8 percent growth in this type of work. This growth is not expected to slow down in this early part of the decade. 

The local spending for special education also increases for different states in the US. Among these states include New Hampshire, Hawaii, Connecticut, and New York.

Another thing you need to consider is the compensation you may get as a special education counselor. As of May 2019, the BLS estimates that these counselors earn an average of  $61,000 a year. However, wages may still vary depending on your educational level and years of service.

And lastly, you should determine if you have a passion for teaching. As a special education counselor, teaching could be extremely difficult. And the process may also be tedious. You need to have a lot of patience and perseverance to help your students grow. 

A special education counselor also primarily needs to be a skilled communicator. They will not only converse with their students. But they also need to consult with parents and other faculties frequently. You will have to provide reports about your student’s progress and their problems in school. Your counselor must have superior organizational skills because they will have so many files to handle.

Whatever your reason for pursuing this career, always remember that it is all about your students. It is all about special needs children and their right to quality education.