What is Remedial school or education?
The main goal of remedial school education to assist a child who has fallen behind academically to ‘catch up’ to their peers. The content of these programs is usually focused on the foundational skills of reading, writing and numeracy. While the term ‘remedial’ is often used interchangeably with ‘special needs’ they are different. A remedial school or remedial education seeks to build on the missing skills while ‘special needs education’ seeks to meet an ongoing need in students with physical and or cognitive disabilities. Remedial education can be provided to children with or without disabilities who have average to above average intellectual abilities, who are for a variety of reasons not keeping up with their peer group in a mainstream school.
What to look for in a remedial school.
There are a few key elements that need to be present in an effective remedial program. Does the program utilise proven research-based interventions and does the program have measures in place to clearly show progress? As when you take a child out of the mainstream setting and into a remedial one you want the time out of the classroom to be as effective as possible. A program that has a strong research base is one that is likely to be highly effective. Before the remediation is implemented there needs to be a good plan in place, in order for this to be achieved a comprehensive assessment to identify skill deficits needs to be completed. The program needs to focuses on teaching the identified skill deficits first, as without consolidation of basic skills higher order skills cannot be achieved. These basic skills need to be taught in a step by step manner by breaking down complex skills into smaller more manageable steps. Often children who require remedial assistance struggle to break a task down into smaller parts, helping a child learn how to do that can make presented work far less daunting.
The remedial school program must be individualized, a one size fits all program will not effectively address the needs of each child. You want the program to target the deficits specifically, this is best achieved through an individualised learning plan (ILP). Instruction needs to be provided in small groups but ideally in an one-one-one setting with some activities within a small group setting. When a child is placed on a one-on-one setting their unique academic and emotional needs can be met. Furthermore, a remedial school that looks at the child holistically and builds missing skills in non-academic areas such as social, play or adaptive skills in addition to academic skills further helps to close the gap. Quite often when children are identified as needing remedial intervention the skill deficits are as a result of poor sustained attention skills; deficits in listening and comprehension skills; difficulty with divided attention; difficulty with following multiple instructions at once and or low motivation. When these skills are absent it makes it very difficult for a child to learn in a classroom environment. Thus, a comprehensive remedial program will look to address all these elements in addition to the academic deficits.