• Dr. V.S. Gayathri

Difference Between Special Education And Remedial Education!

Parents are often confused about the kind of help they should seek while dealing with learning difficulties in their children.


We have seen parents getting confused between Remedial Education and Special Education for their children. Though these terms are often used interchangeably, but there is quite a difference between them.


Whilst special education and remedial education programs are both specialized and structured programs for helping students who need extra attention in their academics or when they are facing learning difficulties. Before understanding there the difference lies between them we need to take a quick look at when they are required.


The impact of learning difficulty or Specific Learning Disorder (SLD), as it is known as is different for each child and depends on various factors like-

  • The severity of the condition

  • Timely and effective Remedial Education


The core difficulties include:

  • Word Recognition

  • Reading Fluency

  • Reading Comprehension

  • Spelling

  • Written Expression

Some students with SLD manage to learn early reading and spelling tasks, especially with excellent instruction, but later experience their most debilitating problems when more complex language skills are required, such as grammar, understanding textbook material, and writing essays. Let us understand how Remedial and Special Education classes are different.


Remedial education is designed for students who have an average or even a higher than average intelligence, but they are not able to perform well in a traditional school environment or with the traditional curriculum.

On the other hand, Special education is designed to help students that are not coping in mainstream or remedial environment.


Remedial programs involve more individualized instructions based on the specific requirements of a student rather than full class instruction for those who have average or higher intellectual abilities who can pull off mainstream curriculum with individualized instruction and attention.


Special education program is a wider umbrella and differs from remedial education as it caters to the needs of students who lack the intellectual ability to perform in a mainstream class teaching standardized concepts and subjects. The students in these classes might lack social maturity, emotional maturity, physical ability or the analytical skills that are needed to perform in a remedial or a standard classroom environment.


Let us understand why Remedial Education should be the first choice for parents in case they notice early signs of learning difficulty in their child.


Remedial Education can be effective-


  1. If they are research-based, and are using proven teaching methods.

  2. If they are structured and explicit in the way it is taught.

  3. If they are conducted at the student’s pace.

  4. If they offer regular reviews and practice exercises to reinforce learning and practice applying new knowledge.

  5. Use a multi-modality method of teaching.

  6. Uses the method of instructional scaffolding.

Hence, you can see why timely and consistent Remedial Education is important.

Every child with SLD has different needs, abilities, strengths, learning styles, learning needs. The right intervention of Remedial Education will help them overcome the learning challenges. This will also help them to develop complex academic skills as well as general skills like their peers. This will further help them in strengthening their confidence and enhance their learning as well as develop positive attitude towards and learning and academics. This will also help them to catch up to their peers.

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