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Professional Associations for Special Education Teachers
- The National Association of Special Education Teachers
- The Council for Exceptional Children
- The Association for Persons with Severe Handicaps
- The National Organization on Disability
- National Center for Learning Disabilities
There are five professional associations and must-attend conferences for special education teachers that can be important resources in the field of educating students with disabilities. The profession has been named one of the nation’s top five happiest jobs, meaning that support for these educators will only increase their efficacy in caring for their students’ well-being. Here are just a few of the associations a special education teacher should look at for additional resources.
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The most important professional association for special education teachers is NASET. This national membership organization is dedicated to supporting these very important educators by advancing professional development and providing training opportunities for new teachers. The organization is well known both for policy and research as well as offering professional resources for teachers; this includes a reference library, an app, conference opportunities and special education board certification requirements. It was the first professional organization that catered to special education teachers and continues to be the leading voice in the country to advocate for teachers and their students.
Special education teachers are supported by the Council for Exceptional Students, known as CEC. It carries the claim that it is “the largest international professional organization dedicated to improving the educational success of individuals with disabilities and/or gifts and talents.” The organization focuses on providing educational opportunities for educators who have gifted or disabled learners as their students and makes an effort to provide as many resources as possible. This includes an overview of special education legislation around the world, access to special education teaching curriculums, conferences, workshops, and online courses.
While not strictly a professional association for special education teachers, TASH is nevertheless an incredible resource for these educators. Founded in 1982, this international disability advocacy group welcomes educators, advocates, researchers, and other professionals to join its team; the association has a stated goal of changing policy and professional practice to benefit all disabled persons around the world, no matter what their handicap may be. Along with conferences and networking events, TASH also offers webinars and internship opportunities for student special education teachers.
Another professional organization that will catch the eye of special education teachers is NOD. It is an organization that is dedicated to further disability employment within the US. It currently focuses on developing creative approaches to finding disables persons meaningful employment by educating the workforce on opportunities as well as lobbying Congress for better legislation. It’s a good organization for special education teachers who work at the high school level, enabling them to address the issues that these students will face when they head out into the workforce.
NCLD has a stated goal of “empowering parents and young adults, transforming schools and advocating for equal rights and opportunities.” It is focused on learning and attention issues, both of which are issues that special education teachers contend with every day. The center is a great resource for teachers who are interested in helping their students find schools that can meet their needs, colleges that offer scholarships for them, and more. It is also home to the Get Ready to Read program, which focuses on developing early literacy skills in children with disabilities.
Special education professionals are an incredible support system for students with disabilities. As a primary education source for children, they are always looking for a way to develop better techniques to teach their students. With these five professional associations for special education teachers, that job can be done in an efficient and compassionate manner.
Related Resource: The 25 Best Online Master's in Special Education Programs