Special Education Needs Resources for Secondary Schools

Students with special education needs require flexible learning experiences that cater to their diverse abilities. Included here are those who, for whatever reason, are at risk of being left behind or students who may require further extension. 

Our high school special education resources have been designed with this in mind. Whether you are a secondary school teacher or a parent, you will find helpful publications guiding behavioural management, strategies to improve resilience and handy study tips and tricks. 

Take the time to browse our special education resources and best support your learners. While you are here, check out our other secondary school teaching resources.  


What is special needs education? 

Special needs education involves providing additional help, adapted programs, specialised equipment, and learning environments to support children and adolescents with special needs in their learning.  

There is no one set approach. Rather, it is tailoring learning to meet the individual student’s needs, enabling them to progress through school.  

Special needs refer to learning problems or disabilities that make it harder for students to learn than most others at the same age. These needs include a wide range of diversities, from physical disabilities to those who have experienced trauma.  

What is UDL in special education?  

UDL (Universal Design for Learning) in special education is a framework to optimise teaching and learning in a way that gives all students equal opportunity within the classroom.  

It is about building flexible teaching and learning methods that can be adjusted to meet every student’s strengths and weaknesses. Students can choose what learning methods will work best for them. For example, providing multiple options for students to present an assignment, eg, a video or an essay.  

The flexibility in UDL anticipates and removes the barriers often experienced by those with special education needs.  

UDL has three principles: 

  • multiple means of engagement – the why of learning 
  • multiple means of representation – the what of learning 
  • multiple means of expression and action – the how of learning. 

Applying the UDL principles ensures all learners can access and participate in meaningful, challenging learning opportunities.  

Which special needs education teaching resources do you recommend? 

The special needs education teaching resources we would recommend are: 

Study Skills Made Practical by Alyse Boaz 

Lift the academic achievement of students with special learning needs as they revise, remember, recall and relate. Study Skills Made Practical uses graphic presentations and relatively few words to improve students’ study skills. The aim is to find creative ways to make learning and study fun.  

The resource begins with how we learn, attitudes to learning, note-taking and goal setting. It moves on to develop routines for everyday study and ways to study for exams.  

Building Resiliency by Ian Thurlow and Jim Peters 

Take a strength-based approach in your work with students who have special education needs.  

These titles provide activities to help adolescents build resiliency. They encourage the use of affirmation and inspiration to solidify the progress adolescents make to nurture resilient behaviour. 

Secondary school teachers will gain an understanding of resiliency and be reminded of the power of positive relationships.  

Learning to Behave by Dee Doherty 

Learning to Behave sets out to address the imbalance between a student’s and a school’s perspectives on appropriate behaviour. The program supports students to see the other’s viewpoint and engage them in learning. 

A cognitive approach teaches problem-solving skills, including problem identification, alternative generation, considering outcomes, and solution-seeking.