Kindergarten/Elementary Special Education Teacher  What They Do

Just the Facts


Teaches elementary and preschool school subjects to educationally and physically handicapped students. Includes teachers who specialize and work with audibly and visually handicapped students, and those who teach basic academic and life processes skills to the mentally impaired.

This career is part of the Education and Training cluster Teaching/Training pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Instructs special needs students in academic subjects, using a variety of techniques, such as phonetics, multisensory learning, or repetition to reinforce learning and meet students' varying needs.
  • Develops or implements strategies to meet the needs of students with a variety of disabilities.
  • Develops individual educational plans (IEPs) designed to promote students' educational, physical, or social development.
  • Confers with parents, administrators, testing specialists, social workers, or other professionals to develop individual education plans (IEPs).
  • Maintains accurate and complete student records as required by laws, district policies, or administrative regulations.
  • Teaches socially acceptable behavior, employing techniques such as behavior modification or positive reinforcement.
  • Establishes and enforces rules for behavior and procedures for maintaining order among students.
  • Modifies the general kindergarten or elementary education curriculum for special-needs students.
  • Confers with parents, guardians, teachers, counselors, or administrators to resolve students' behavioral or academic problems.
  • Employs special educational strategies or techniques during instruction to improve the development of sensory- and perceptual-motor skills, language, cognition, or memory.

Insider Info

Dig into the details and check out what people in this job have to say about their work.



Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 10 lbs., sometimes up to 20 lbs. You might do a lot of walking or standing, or you might sit but use your arms and legs to control machines, equipment or tools.
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Sound and noise levels are loud and distracting
  • Work in this occupation involves standing more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Overtime work

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Developmental Therapist -- Assesses a child in order to determine if that child is mentally developing in a healthy manner
  • Learning Specialist -- Works closely with the teachers in order to provide direct and indirect services to all students in need of academic support by prioritizing inclusion through a variety of co-teaching models, including teaming, parallel teaching and alternative teaching.
  • Sign Language Teacher -- Instructs both deaf and hearing students in American Sign Language (ASL).
  • Speech Language Pathologist -- Diagnoses and treats communication and swallowing disorders in patients.