How does Montessori education help students that may have special needs?

First of all, we need to remember that Maria Montessori began her life-long with children with “special needs.”  We know there are special needs that have evolved and been identified over the years and we need to be aware of them.

There is a course which has previously offered insight into how to deal with children with special needs in a Montessori environment, what kinds of accommodations may need to be created for these children, the importance of hands-on work with concrete materials to support children’s various needs.  This course is hopefully going to be offered again in the not-so-distant future.   

The challenge in making special accommodations for a specific child is that the accommodation does not become the norm for all the children.  An example of an accommodation is for children with auditory processing issues and for whom the normal buzz of the environment can be difficult to block out.  This child could have a special corner to work in, away from the busiest parts of the room, focused on the wall or something beautiful that has been added to the wall of the corner to absorb sound.

There are few “special needs” that cannot be somehow accommodated for in a normal Montessori environment.  The Montessori teacher must work with the parents/carers and perhaps with special therapists of the child to try to make the accommodation that will allow the child’s potential to be realised.

Child reading quietly in Montessori classroom