In today’s world, there is a fairly large number of children due to the increasing population of mankind. The most important aspects of personality formation are education and socialization. First of all, such skills are given to children by a school, that allows them to make friends and get basic knowledge. However, it is necessary to emphasize the presence of children with mental disabilities or special needs. Often it is more difficult for such individuals to integrate into society because of their health conditions. However, this does not mean that such children should be limited in their abilities; it is worth finding a unique approach. It is debatable whether such individuals should be raised separately from the rest of the community or whether they should be socialized as early as possible. In my opinion, the most effective solution in this area is to combine several approaches to education into one aggregate. In my view, children with special needs should not be separated from regular children and isolated in a separate classroom.
Importance of Socialization for Children
To learn to communicate, children need time and a large enough group of peers. At the same time, they also need the support of specialists who will competently build these relationships. A child will not become independent if he does not learn to follow these rules. But meeting once a week with the children of friends or with children on the playground is not enough (Westwood, 2020). It needs to happen on a daily basis. Inclusive education for children with mental disabilities is one of the newest trends in education. Separate examples are treated as negative because there was no system: simply a child with special needs was assigned to a regular school, and his adaptation to the new society on a spontaneous basis (Westwood, 2020). But such unsuccessful experiences, as well as later insufficiently thought-out initiatives, cannot serve as justification for placing people in a kind of ghetto – and it is with the ghetto that the lives of many disabled people and their neighbors can still be compared.
In the article Implementation of Promising Practices that Support Students With Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, several researchers analyzed possible improvements in systems for adapting and teaching children with mental disorders. The authors point out that such children are capable of learning but with certain adjustments. For example, they emphasize the necessity of creating a bright and cheerful classroom and community environment for the child (Zaheer et al., 2019). In addition, an important goal is to instill the ability to communicate and work as a team with other peers (Zaheer et al., 2019). In addition, professionals who will interact with such children must be proficient in several ways of communication, such as non-argue dialogues.
The authors give instructions for interaction with children with mental disorders. Among them, they emphasize permanent feedback and provide the child the opportunity to make choices and decisions (Zaheer et al., 2019). This is productive for two reasons, and first, the child will develop independence and a sense of responsibility for their actions and decisions. Second, some types of mental disorders are prone to aggression. If the individual is listened to, then resentment or anger can be avoided, as understanding the child’s desires will help prevent possible conflicts.
Suggestions for Overlapping the Methods of Education
Nevertheless, not all points can be agreed upon. The fact is that the inclusion of children with mental disabilities in classical schools is an ambiguous criterion. Teachers can retrain and be prepared to interact with such individuals, and the school may have the resources to do so. By analyzing the children’s age, it needs to be emphasized that teens make cruel jokes, do not respect personal boundaries, or do not understand the severity of others’ illnesses (Smith et al., 2019). Nevertheless, there are alternative but no less effective ways of teaching children with mental disorders.
- The involvement of tutors who specialize in teaching exceptional children. It means that the child can continue to go to a regular school and a regular class, but a specialist is brought in to explain the curriculum there. In addition, in the classes, there is no emphasis on the peculiarities of the child. Often teachers and classmates do not know precisely how to communicate with a particular child – this can manifest itself in misjudgment, conflicts, and resentment, which can only exacerbate the disorder.
- Special schools. These educational institutions are small centers with classes of three or five people with similar types of disorders. If a small group does not suit the child, teachers and tutors lead “one-on-one” lessons.
- Correctional classes in general education schools. A form of differentiation of education used since the 1970s (Farmer et al., 2020). The pluses are that all children can participate equally in many school activities, and also that children study closer to home and are raised in a family.
- Homeschooling is a variant of children’s education. Teachers of public educational institutions or specially hired tutors visit children and conduct lessons directly at their residences. Homeschooling can be conducted by the general or auxiliary program, built by the capabilities of the child (Farmer et al., 2020). Upon completion, the child receives an available school-leaving certificate indicating the program they have studied.
- Distance learning. Not all cities have trained teachers, so now educational services provided to children at a distance are beginning to spread. Through a webcam and chats, it is possible to keep a child in touch with the distance learning center, conduct tests, surveys (Farmer et al., 2020). In addition, the coronavirus period showed that modern information technology could provide practical training without losing the quality of education.
The above methods will help protect the child from the possible psychological trauma that can cause the promise. Moreover, this does not mean that the child will be completely isolated from society and unprepared for adult life (Farmer et al., 2020). Communication with people will still be present in other areas of life, but it will be more limited and safe. Upon reaching adulthood, such children will learn to cope with illnesses with the help of psychological assistance and medications. Their peers, in turn, will also become more mature, educated, and humane, which will allow them to have painless contact with society.
Based on the statistics and methods analyzed above, we can conclude that the issue at hand remains controversial. The fact is that there are many difficulties in the early socialization of children with special needs due to their condition. It is important to put together a methodology that will provide all the necessary skills while minimizing the damage to the child’s psyche. That is why I propose to combine the above-mentioned alternatives, as this will make the educational process the most effective and safest.
Farmer, T. W., Maureen, A., & Sutherland, K., S. (2020). Handbook of research on emotional and behavioral disorders. Interdisciplinary developmental perspectives on children and youth. Taylor & Francis.
Smith, T. E. C., Polloway, E. A., and Taber-Doughty, T. (2019). Teaching students with special needs in inclusive settings. PRO-ED.
Westwood, P. (2020). Commonsense methods for children with special needs and disabilities. Taylor & Francis.
Zaheer, I., Maggin, D., McDaniel, S., McIntosh, K., Rodriguez, B. J., and Fogt, J. B. (2019). Implementation of promising practices that support students with emotional and behavioral disorders. Behavioral Disorders, 117-128. SAGE.