Remedial / Extra Classes – classes within a school setting- have aspects of traditional schooling, but focus on providing individual instructions, instead of giving instructions to the class as a whole. Teachers who teach remedial classes have specialised training that allows them to understand the individual needs of students with Autism, ADHD, other neurological conditions, and learning disorders. Due to their training, these teachers are often more patient, as they have learned about the behaviours which these children may display.
Remedial / Extra Classes also tend to be quite a bit smaller, but still focus on the social and communicative areas of peer-play and teamwork. These classes are more accommodating for the sensory needs of the children by often allowing frequent breaks for regulation and sensory input.
The four main steps of remedial teaching/classes are:
- Prepping and collecting supporting materials that are specially for the abilities and capacity of the students.
- Adapting the educational curriculum to the abilities of the children, especially through organising the resources in a way that is easier to understand for differently wired minds. This also includes making sure that the work is challenging (to prevent boredom, and thus non-compliance), but not so challenging that the child no longer wants to attempt the lesson.
- Choosing appropriate teaching strategies, and teaching at a slower pace than in traditional classes. One of the strategies includes starting the lesson with an achievable goal, so that the child is motivated and willing to attempt a more demanding task.
- Organising teaching materials, including materials that provide multi-sensory learning, interesting methods of learning, engaging colours, images, and themes.
In remedial classes, there is also a primary focus on rewarding trying, not just rewarding the desired outcome. This is the most important aspect of special needs education, as there is no incentive for the child to try if they do not know it is safe to make a mistake. Children with special needs often struggle can heavily impact their confidence and sense of self-worth, so it must be ensured that the environment is a calm, engaging, positive space for each individual.
Sometimes children can attend remedial / extra Classes independently, and other times, the child might require facilitation from a tutor, instructor, or therapist. School facilitation is the process in which the child is accompanied by a special-needs professional. The professional may be simply a supportive measure, or the needs of the child may be more intensive. Intensive support may look like running a toileting programme, showing the child how to complete activities and completing it with them, teaching communication methods, assisting social interaction, applying consistency in regard to complying with classroom rules and schedules, and explaining situations that the child might not understand or might be distressed by.
Remedial classes are an option for children with special needs, even if they are a higher-needs child. Should these needs require even more support than just a remedial class, school facilitations are an option to create the optimal environment of learning and trying!
Article by: A. Pascoe (2023)