This is a career field most suited for those who have a passion for teaching and love as well as concern for children with special needs. Special education can be defined as personalized schooling given to children with diverse disabilities, whether they are physical, mental or developmental. Children with special needs require training and instruction by specially trained professionals. The field offers different career opportunities- including teaching and instruction, as well as curriculum development for special needs children and adults. Special education teacher is one who is specially trained to teach and interact with children and youth who have a variety of disabilities. The various types of disabilities that require services of special education trained personnel include specific learning disabilities, speech or language impairments, mental retardation, emotional disturbance, multiple disabilities, hearing impairments, orthopedic impairments, visual impairments, autism, combined deafness and blindness, traumatic brain injury, and other health impairments. Children with these disabilities are unable to learn in a traditional classroom environment, special education classes can provide an alternative or better learning experience for these students. Special education teachers work for students with hearing, vision, emotional or behavioural difficulties, physical and/or intellectual disabilities, or special needs in learning or communication. They teach them basic literacy, independent living skills and communication skills. The work of special education teacher can be emotionally demanding and physically draining. Many students with mental or emotional disabilities can cause frustration for a teacher. A special education teacher should also have a solid understanding of human psychology and emotions. Jobs in special education require individuals who not only possess patience for the students with disabilities, but an enormous capacity for understanding as well as a passion to nurture and help those less fortunate. Eligibility Educational One can enter the career field either doing a diploma course or a bachelor of special education programme. For diploma course 10+2 is the minimum requirement. Whereas for bachelor course in special education one must have at least a bachelor degree from a recognised university. There are also Masters course in special education for which requirement is bachelor degree in special education. Personal Attributes Special education teacher requires a love for kids, empathy for parents dealing with difficult kids and a good sense of humor. Main attribute required for this career is patience and dedication. Having the innate desire to help others is also important in this profession. Like any other teachers, special education teachers must be organized and able to motivate students. As they also spend a lot of time working with other teachers, parents and therapists, communication and cooperation skills are useful. Other attributes special teachers need include critical thinking skills, creativity, interpersonal skills etc. Job prospects The number of students requiring special education services has grown steadily in recent years as these disabilities are diagnosed at earlier ages and more and more specialised schools are coming up. This has increased the demand for specially trained teachers. Career of special education teacher is highly rewarding at the same time it can also be emotionally demanding, stressful, and physically draining. Special education teachers work with students who have a wide variety of mental, emotional, physical, and learning disabilities. Toddlers with disabilities learn to develop motor, cognitive, language, self-help, and social skills through play with the help of special education teachers. As these teachers work with students who have learning difficulties, they must be creative and apply different types of teaching techniques after understanding their students special needs in order to motivate them. Each student may have to be given individual care. Special education teachers usually work along with speech therapists, psychologists and physiotherapists. A large part of a special education teachers job involves communicating and coordinating with others involved in the child's well being, including parents, social workers, school psychologists, occupational and physical therapists, school administrators, and other teachers. They suggest techniques to promote learning at home. Special educators use braille to pupils with visual impairments or sign language and lip reading to students who have hearing impairments. With development in technology they are using various audiovisual materials and computers to stimulate interest in learning. Special education teachers may work in a public or private special school either with groups of students or on an individual basis. There are many rehabilitation centres where one can find employment. Yet another group of special education teachers tutor homebound or hospitalized students or teach in other residential facilities. Special education teachers after years of experience in the field can progress to administrative or supervisory positions. Earning advanced degrees qualifies teachers to instruct at colleges teaching special education programs. Experienced special education teachers are appointed to mentor less experienced teachers. Remuneration Special education teacher's salary will depend on the location and type of school in which you choose to make your living. A public school position will offer a starting salary of Rs. 7,000. After gaining experience one can expect more salary. Whereas those in private schools can earn more than public schools. But another advantage of being employed in public schools is that they offer pension schemes and other benefits like holiday pay.