It is also worth noting that the evolving nature of special education can be attributed to the cultural changes, family values, and civilizations taking place. Research attitudes towards people with special educational needs exhibit considerable variation as one move from one culture to the other. Findings show that people of different culture may perceive the similar conditions differently. For instance, Yoruba perceived that albinism as a punishment from God (Wilson, 2003). Consequently, such ideology tends to promote segregation. In fact, some cultures stigmatize disabled people by alluding that the condition is incurable and as such, they remain abnormal to the society. However, this situation has slowly had slowly been wading away as families, and individuals become more civilized. In these regards, families have started accepting the fact that disabled people are normal people, but challenged in one aspect or the other. This acceptance has made the society embrace them in various institutions. Furthermore, this realization has seen the number of teachers enrolling for training in special education increase significantly.
From the matters discussed above and the evolving nature of special education, it is essential to acknowledge the progress that specialists have made in this field. As it is evident, children with special educational needs are humans and deserve to be treated just like any other person. Choosing to segregate the victims based on disabilities only serves to stigmatize them further instead of helping them deal with their conditions. The choice to include them in the 'whole school' curriculum is laudable except for the little logistical concerns. One of the biggest questions that have plagued the minds of many is the basis of classifying the children with specials needs into various categories. It is an undeniable fact that the level of disability varies from one person to the other. However, choosing blindly to incorporate all the children in the mainstream classes would be like burying the head in the soil and assuming that the danger is gone. The future remains unknown. From a personal point-of-view, it is crucial for the educational system, schools, and other agencies involved permitting an open policy relating to special…… [Read More]
"By the 1980s, the field had moved to a functional skills model. As the evidence for this approach mounted, the field refocused on age appropriate skills and knowledge performed in authentic settings and the functional life skills curriculum became best practice. The functional, age-appropriate curricular focus resulted in these students demonstrating skills and knowledge not thought possible earlier" (Quenemoen, 2008).
In the 1990s, added significant new practices were acknowledged as best practice in teaching and learning for students with severe disabilities. The practice of including students with severe disabilities with representative peers in classroom settings for reasons of social inclusion, along with a new focus on self-determination skills, revealed a new approval of the students, and an accepting of values related to social development. The arrival of more complicated assistive technology opened the world of communication for the first time for some students, and improved the ability of teachers and students to work together (Quenemoen, 2008).
The next major shift was that of common curriculum access, as mandated by IDEA 1997, and clarified by NCLB 2001 and IDEA 2004. Academics united earlier precedence's including useful, social inclusion and self resolve in the curriculum for students with severe disabilities across the nation in principle, if not in practice, in all schools. "IDEA 1997 required that all children who receive special education services are to have access to and make progress in the general curriculum, but NCLB and IDEA 2004 and subsequent regulatory language for both laws clarified that the general curriculum was defined as based on the same academic standards and expectations that applied to all other students in a given state. Alternate assessments are to be aligned to or connected to in later terminology related to peer review the state content standards in each grade" (Quenemoen, 2008).
Regardless of intentions, each new wave of educational reform has had to face the problem that high-stakes tests strongly influence what is taught. In the early 1990s, supporters for standards used terms like genuine, direct, and performance-based to dispute for fundamentally dissimilar kinds of assessments that would better characterize determined learning…… [Read More]
Thus, efforts aimed at helping teachers to avoid harmful stereotyping of students often begin with activities designed to raise teachers' awareness of their unconscious biases." (1989) Cotton goes on the relate that there are specific ways in which differential expectations are communicated to students according to the work of: "Brookover, et al. (1982); Brophy (1983); Brophy and Evertson (1976); Brophy and Good (1970); Cooper and Good (1983); Cooper and Tom (1984); Cotton (1989); Good (1987, 1982); Good, et al. (1980); Good and Brophy (1984)" which are the ways as follows:
Providing fewer opportunities for high-expectation students to learn new material than for low-expectation students to learn new material;
Allowing less waiting time for low-expectation students to answer questions in class than is allowed high-expectation students;
Providing low-expectation students with the answer or calling on another student "rather than trying to improve their responses by giving clues or repeating or rephrasing questions;
Providing inappropriate reinforcement to low-expectation students which is not contingent on performance;
Criticism of low-expectation students for failure more severely and more often than high expectation students and praising low-expectation students less frequently.
Failing to provide feedback to responses of low-expectation students;
Paying more attention to high-expectation students than low expectation students;
Seating the low-expectation students farther from the teacher than high-expectation students.
Providing less feedback and briefer feedback to low-expectation students;
Interacting with low-expectation students more privately than publicly and structuring their activities much more closely
Conducting differential administration or grading of tests or assignments, in which high-expectation students -- but not low-expectation students -- are given the benefit of the doubt in borderline cases
Conducting less friendly and responsive interactions with low-expectation students than high-expectation students, including less smiling, positive head nodding, forward leaning, eye contact, etc.
Asking high-expectation students more stimulating, higher cognitive questions than low-expectation students
Making less frequent use of effective but time-consuming instructional methods with low-expectation students than with high-expectation students, especially when time is…… [Read More]
In the past, students with disabilities tended to be isolated from their peers by Special Education paradigms that obliged them to receive learning in a physically isolated setting. Far from helping these children to achieve their full potential, such setups tended to stigmatize them, making, making it even more difficult to look beyond their ability for their own identity and how this could be applied for the benefit of society both during their school careers and thereafter.
A collaborative environment, on the other hand, can lead to a greater understanding of the challenges these children face, as well as to provide them with the potential to make the most of their abilities rather than their disabilities. When parents collaborate with educators, for example, the latter can draw up strategies that specifically target the need of the students in question. Educators can then collaborate with students in the classroom to help with the integration process in order to discourage discrimination and isolation. The final aim can then be full integration in the mainstream classroom. In this way, Special Education students are presented with goals rather than a perpetual sense of marginalization.
Rather than therefore physically isolating such students in a single Special Education class, they would find greater benefit in an integrated classroom, where they can collaborate with other learners. Educators collaborate with Special Educators in order to implement specific strategies to help these students reach their full potential.
In this way teachers, students, parents, and the school system as a whole can collaborate for ultimate success.
7) a learning disability refers to problems experienced with education on a specific level. Dyslexia is an example of a learning disability. Learning disabilities vary in severity, but at all times interfere with the educational process and learning development, particularly in children. Particularly, this problem affects one or more of the following skills and their acquisition:
Response to Intervention (RTI) identifies and addresses student academic difficulties via a comprehensive assessment and intervention process. A problem-solving framework is used to identify and find strategies for mitigating potential problems that the student could face in his or her learning. Specifically, the process involves an increasingly intensive and individualized set of interventions applied to students who show signs of learning difficulties. When students…… [Read More]
As a result, children within the middle class and above receive adequate attention and treatment for special education needs at an early stage. Young children of educated parents are read to more consistently, and are encourage to read by themselves at an early age. Statistics show that most children with parents who have college degrees are read to on a daily basis before they begin attending kindergarten. In application to special education access this implies that the majority of children from affluent families will have the greatest access to the provisions of IDEA because they will have diagnosis at an early stage. Parents who care strongly about the future of their children will most likely conduct the most research and to seek special education facilities much more than underprivileged children.
The problem with delivery of special education facilities is that IDEA provides for special facilities as well as schools to children with disabilities. However, access to these facilities are through references from doctors, medical professionals and teachers. Low income children, especially those living in ethnic ghettos have dramtically less access to these recommendation facilities which will dramatically affect how they are perceived and held accountable for their actions. Black parents, who grow up in a culture of underachievement are much less likely than white parents to pay particular attention to the needs of their children. The implicit problem with delivery is that self-motivation is a critical determinant of how much access to specific resources are available to those with special education needs. This is of course, severely impedes individuals from underprivileged backgrounds from getting the access to special education that the federal government provides under IDEA.
There are many possible solutions to the current problems associated with the effect of poverty and race on unequal access to special education services. IDEA after all has taken significant steps forward in the formation of a unified national policy to help special education access for all children. The implicit problem is to develop a method for easy access to facilities and treatment centers. One proposed solution is to engage in testing at the pre-natal stage and progressive testing during the infantile stage at hospitals to ensure that disabilities are recognized at an early age. The extension of IDEA Part C would be the most useful element to underprivileged children because…… [Read More]
Despite all this information, little data is actually available with regard to why teacher shortages continue. Further research is necessary the authors conclude to help alleviate the problem.
This article is important for several reasons. It points out the critical shortage of special education teachers that is prevalent in a majority of school districts across the nation. It suggests there are several different reasons for teacher shortages, including lack of educational opportunities for special education teachers, lack of incentives for entering the field, and the difficulty associated with this particular job field. There is some evidence suggesting that teacher attrition rates and lack of new teachers entering the filed have contributed the most to special education problems in the U.S.
I agree with the authors concern over the special education crisis in the United States. The authors sampled numerous national educational authorities to draw their conclusions. They suggest that increased or improved pay and incentive programs will help encourage teachers to stay in the special education field.
I agree with this, but also think further education and training is necessary to help teachers cope with the harsh realities of working with emotionally and mentally impaired students. This is as the authors point out, the area where the greatest shortages of teachers currently exist. Working with this population must be extremely challenging. The authors hint that further education and training may help teachers in this area, however this in my opinion should be the primary area of emphasis for future studies related to special education. In addition diverse recruiting techniques should be adopted by agencies to encourage teachers from multiple ethnic backgrounds to join the field. Only then can the inadequacies that currently exist in the special education field be adequately addressed.
Flippin, Susan, Mcleskey, James, & Tyler, Naomi. "The supply of and demand for special education teachers: A review of research regarding the…… [Read More]
Special education is presided over by federal law in most educational jurisdictions. According to the Indviduals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Special Education is defined as: specifically planned instruction used to meet the distinctive needs of a child with a disability, at no cost to the parents. This kind of service is in place to provide supplementary services, support, programs, specialized placements or surroundings to make sure that all students' educational needs are met. Special education is given to qualifying students at no cost to the parents. There are a lot of students who have special learning needs and these needs are addressed by way of special education. The array of special education support varies based on need and educational jurisdictions. Each state or educational jurisdiction has different policies, rules, regulations and legislation that governs what special education is and how it is used (Hallahan, Kauffman, & Pullen, 2011).
At the federal level the governing law is the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Characteristically, the kinds of disabilities will be plainly acknowledged in the jurisdiction's law that surrounds special education. Students meeting the qualifications for special education support have needs that will frequently require support that goes beyond what is usually offered or received in the regular classroom setting. This law was reauthorized by Congress in 2004, leading to a series of changes in the way special education services are put into practice. These changes are still in place today and affect the delivery of special education and related services. Several notions have become part of the special education vocabulary because of this law. These include FAPE (free appropriate public education), IEP (individualized education program) and LRE (least restrictive environment). These concepts have been built into the special education system to make sure that equal access to education is available for all students (Hallahan, Kauffman, & Pullen, 2011).
The IEP, Individualized Education Program, is a written document that's developed for each public school child who is entitled to special education.…… [Read More]
Special Education and Gifted -- Talented Students
Over the last several years, the issues surrounding gifted and talented as well as special needs students have been continually brought to the forefront. Part of the reason for this, is because a number of different pieces of legislation have been directing educators to improve the various techniques that they are utilizing to reach out to these individuals to include: IDEA 2004 along with the Gifted and Talented Students Act of 1988. This is just one part of the larger effort to address a host of issues that are affecting these students. These pieces of legislation are significant, because they are having a major impact on the way educators are reaching out to these individuals when addressing the different needs that they have.
As a result, number of themes and trends has begun to develop in effectively dealing with these students. A few of the most important include: how to reach out to these individuals and customizing various programs that will cater to each person's unique learning style. At the same time, various questions have emerged from our research that is indicating that a transformation is taking place to include:
How can educators effectively address the requirements of special needs students based on maintaining the basic curriculum objectives?
What kinds of techniques can be utilized to: identify, support and deal with issues that are unique to gifted and talented students?
The various findings of the studies that we were looking at are indicating that a unique approach must be taken when examining: the social background of the student, their individual needs, conducting an effective assessment, utilizing various troubleshooting techniques that are a part of a larger group effort and the effect that it is having on the person. The relevance of this research is illustrating how educators must have the flexibility to adapt to a host of situations that they are facing. These different elements are important, because they are highlighting how the techniques and the way they reaching out to students, will be continually changing based upon these factors.
Coleman (2009) suggests that teachers must be using a variety of tactics to reach out to different special needs students to include: a tiered support system, early intervention, screening / assessments /…… [Read More]
Special Education Legislation
Individualized Education Program
Developing Standard-Based Individualized Education Program Objectives for Students with Significant Needs. By Sharon Lynch and Paula Adams.
Due to the need to provide equitable education and knowledge to children with special needs, the idea of Individualized Education Program (IEP) comes in handy to help make this a reality. It is upon the government's recognition of the needs of the children who have conditions that may not allow them to learn effectively or at the same speed with other children given the standard learning environment that it implemented various measures to ensure that no child is left behind in fulfilling their learning needs. Factually, these kids with learning impediments may not necessarily learn the same level of concept and complexity of ideas, hence the need to have their own individualized system that will impart the necessary skills and knowledge in them.
The attached article articulates some of the tenets of the IEP and the way they can be implemented and the accompanying benefits thereof. The article indicates that IEP needs to note how the individual disabilities affect the learning of the particular students. This is accompanied by the measurable goals that need to be taken to ensure the children effectively learn. In as much as there is the narrowing of the general curriculum in approaching the IEP and the learning needs of the children, there is rampant integration of the functional content into the learning. This ensures that the teaching of these children is not rigid but flexible enough to accommodate even the most specific needs of this category of children. Notably, the general curriculum should not restrict these teachers to adhere strictly to science, math, science or language. Indeed doing so would defeat the meaning of the IEP and particularly the individualization aspect.
The IEP is also noted to require goals and objectives that take into account the special needs as well as the curriculum unlike the traditional approach of a…… [Read More]
.." (2004, p.3) the hands-on experience is also related as being important in the science class in the work entitled: "The National Curriculum" which states that science through inquiry: "...stimulates and excites pupils' curiosity about phenomena and events in the world around them" (the National Curriculum, 2006) and that science also "satisfies this curiosity with knowledge." (the National Curriculum, 2006) Scientific inquiry teaches students investigate skills in the areas of: (1) Planning; (2) Obtaining and Presenting Evidence; (3) Exploration; and (4) Consideration of evidence and making evaluations. In the area of planning students ask questions and then make decisions how to search out the answers to those questions. Students use first-hand experience and simple information sources for locating answers to these questions and as well enter a thought process about the results of decisions and learn to make comparisons. In obtaining and presenting evidence the students learn to follow instructions in the lab in order to avoid risks to themselves and others and make exploration through use of the senses of sight, hearing, smell, touch, and taste as appropriate while making observations and recording those observations and measurements. Finally, students communicate their observations and findings through use of speech and writing, drawing, tables, graphs and pictures. In the application of consideration of the evidence and making evaluations, comparisons are made by students and patterns and associations are identified. Also, students make a review of their own work and go on to explain their work to other students.
V. The SCIENTIFIC INQUIRY MODEL is related by EDQUEST which contains specific steps including: (1) Problem statement (initial inquiry); (2) Hypothesis (Predicting); (3) Experimental Design (Materials and Procedure); (4) Data Collection (Observations/Measurements); (5) Analysis/Interpretation of the Data (Inferring); (6) Drawing Conclusions (Answering the question/problem); and (7) Extension (further inquiry). (EDQUEST, 2007) the illustration of this model is shown in Figure 2.
The Scientific Inquiry Model
Source: EDQUEST (2007)
EDQUEST (2007) states that Science Process Skills include…… [Read More]
This plan should address the concerns of the parents and must be tailored to suit the specific needs of the concerned child. Developing an IEP involves a collaborative approach from the teachers, parents and students and other special education staff. Team effort is central to the success of the program as only when input from all the members are garnered can a successful plan be charted out. Once the eligibility criterion is established the next step is to put in written form the IEP. The present level of education performance document is an important source to be drawn from while developing a comprehensive IEP. It includes all information pertaining to the student's strengths, weaknesses and other qualities. Observing the performance reports of the student would provide a good idea of the strengths and weakness of the student in all areas. Based on this the expectations or goals for the particular student may be appropriately ascertained. The IEP document should also explicitly specify non-participation of the student in particular activities with other non-disabled students. [LD Online]
Analysing the present level of performance also enables the committee responsible for forming the IEP to have a more exact understanding of the learning style of the particular student, and also to identify the teaching methods that are either effective or ineffective for the particular student. [U.S. Department of Education] the present level performance report also highlights the particular disabilities and how it affects the student's participation and performance. Thus, special education services that are needed for the student, the training needed for the teachers are all identified based on the present performance report. Since the present level of performances report includes all these important information about the student it constitutes the basic input for development of long-term goals, short-term objectives and a comprehensive IEP for the student.… [Read More]
It would not only be time consuming and expensive for each classroom teacher to develop an effective basic reading skills curriculum but such a curriculum is also fraught with a high degree of error. There is compelling evidence that supports the use of scripted programs rather than teacher-developed approaches to teach complex skills (Benner, 2005).
Second, apply positive behavioral supports to manage the behaviors of students with behavioral difficulties during reading instruction. Researchers have found that the problem behaviors of students with emotional disturbance are moderately to strongly relate to their responsiveness to reading intervention. Coercion theory offers an important rationale for the use of positive behavioral supports to improve responsiveness. Coercion theory asserts that many students with severe behavioral challenges have learned that arguing; escalation, confrontation, aggression, and noncompliance often lead to escape from undesirable tasks such as homework completion or from compliance with repeated requests to behave appropriately, for example. Escape/avoidance of undesirables becomes the function that drives many of the problem behaviors displayed by these students and their negative interactions with others (Benner, 2005).
Due to the severity and frequency of disruptive behaviors, a student may be allowed to escape or avoid many academic tasks over time while the achievement gap between them and their peers continues to broaden. Teachers should be careful not to allow students to escape/avoid academic tasks that they are capable of completing. Although allowing the student to escape from such tasks may provide teachers a temporary break from the problem behaviors of students such a response actually increases the likelihood that the student will engage in problem behaviors to escape undesirable tasks in the future (Benner, 2005).
Third, the reading skills of students with behavioral challenges will be increased by building automaticity in phonemic awareness, phonics, and reading fluency. In other words, educators should use instructional techniques that enhance students' ability to effortlessly complete foundational academic tasks without conscious thought to step-by-step process. Researchers have found that fluency, or automaticity, appears to be…… [Read More]
" This kind of paperwork is time-consuming and meticulous.
This IEP can be reviewed as often as parents or teachers request it, and "must be accessible to all staff responsible for its implementation," which includes general education teachers and other school staff. Meanwhile, if a special education student is having problems in class, for whatever reason, he or she may be brought before the school's "Instructional Study Team," which consists of staff from the school and other professionals who have a grasp of the special education program at that school. Parents are also brought in to these meetings; also, following the meeting there is a large volume of paperwork for the teacher to address.
Meanwhile, in some states a special education teacher may have as many as 100 students; but not in Illinois. In June, 2007, after 9 public hearings throughout the state, the Illinois State Board of Education (Burke, 2007) revised rules pertaining to the case load for special education teachers; one important change that was authorized is that districts are required to go through collective bargaining with the teachers before additional work loads are assigned. And further, "class size" will be defined not based on the amount of time a student spends away from general education classes, but rather it will be determined based on "the amount of time for which the student [actually] receives special education services."
Works… [Read More]
This creates a problem in education, as there is already a disproportionate demand for Special Education teachers, while there are not enough to meet the demand of the increasing numbers of students needing their services.
Specifically, Whitaker also mentions the following factors in contributing to the isolation problem and the lack of teacher retention: 1) a lack of preparation for the realities of the profession; 2) a reluctance in teachers to look for help when they need it; 3) Unrealistic expectations from peers, superiors, students and parents. Whitaker suggests that all these difficulties can be addressed by the appropriate support. There is a wide network of potential support available to the Special Education teacher.
One of these is colleagues and friends. At the graduate level, lecturers and other professionals can provide support by preparing students for the realities of teaching. Teaching students should however also be encouraged to maintain their ideals, while also being aware of the difficulties they will face in their profession. Colleagues should be focused on making the new teacher feel a part of the school from the first day on the job. Administrators should also encourage the new teacher to seek help if he or she needs it.
Patricia a Cruzeiro (2006) specifically addresses the role of the Principal as lending support to Special Education staff. According to the author, the Principal is responsible for ensuring that these teachers receive sufficient support and help to ensure that the goals of the school towards education is met. Special education learners are provided with the opportunity to excel along with the rest of society. As such, Special Education teachers should receive all the support they need to make a success of their chosen profession.… [Read More]
It would appear that the pre-training of parents in dealing with autism augments the hands-on training that the children receive. While there is need for more research, it appears that this relationship has been demonstrated to be significant.
Dawson, G., et. al. (2009). Randomized, controlled trial of an intervention for toddlers with autism:
The early start denver model. Pediatrics, 125, 17-23.
In the journal Pediatrics, a study was published regarding a controlled trial in order to evaluate the Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) as a comprehensive developmental behavioral intervention that improves the outcomes of toddlers with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The population studied consisting of 48 children with ASD 18 to 30 months that were randomly put in to 1 of 2 groups. The first of these was an intervention group that was run by trained therapists and parents for 2 two years. The second of these involved referrals to community special education providers for intervention. Compared with the children who received community-interventions, those who received ESDM showed improvements in IQ, autism diagnosis and adaptive behavior. Two years after beginning the intervention, the ESDM group on improved some 17.6 standard points compared to 7.0 points in the comparison group as opposed to base-
line scores. The ESDM group maintained growth in adaptive behaviors compared to a sample of typical children. Over the 2-year span of the study, the comparison group displayed significantly greater delays in the area of adaptive behaviors. Adolescents who got ESDM were also more prone to experience a diagnosis change from autism to…… [Read More]
This is often complemented with anger and job depression.
There is also the challenge of extreme mental and physical fatigue. This fatigue does not have an identifiable physiological source. The individual may have a good diet and may sleep well but the awake exhausted and tired. They are not prepared to engage in the task of preparation of class materials or lessons. The mind is tired and it may be difficult to concentrate for even short periods. This is further exacerbated by a lack of motivation and excitement they speak and appear demotivated. These symptoms are usually accompanied by a negative attitude toward the children and the job itself. This may be in stark contrast to the earlier statements of the individual who may have had very positive feelings and attitudes towards their job and the children under their care. From the list of symptoms it is obvious that such a person will often be a source of unnecessary negativity on the staff and may contribute to diminished staff morale.
There is a difference in rates of burnout for urban and rural schools. Teachers in urban schools tend to report higher levels of burnout than those at rural schools (Haberman, 2004 p. 18). In the major source of stress to the teachers was the lack of discipline and motivation among the students. This is combined with a school climate that is less personal and teachers often have an ill defined sense of accomplishments. The role of the teacher is limited and their input is not required for major decision making. Rural teachers however, felt greater stress from the demands placed on their time and the nature of the work environment. It becomes evident that the nature of the stress in the urban environment may be tied to the failure of teachers to experience satisfaction through their work. In the rural situation teachers appear to be more concerned about conditions of work in its variant manifestations and this impacts on the levels of stress.
The prevention and treatment of burnout is a serious challenge that administrators and policy makers need to give attention. Wood (2002) suggests a three tiered approach to burnout prevention,…… [Read More]
According to the law as well as generally accepted principles of humanity, each child who enters the school system in the United States has the right to an effective education. For average and above average children, this is usually not a problem. However, there is a wide diversity of children who enter the school system today. In addition to many different cultures and backgrounds, teachers are also challenged by a wide variety of learning needs. Some students, for example, struggle with specific areas of learning such as reading, where such a student then requires specialized assistance to meet the demands and challenges of the school environment. One such student is Eric, a first-grade student who struggles with reading. He struggles with the sounds of letters and building words from the different sounds. Since this is such a fundamental skill in early education, it was decided that Assistive Technology (AT) should be used to try to help Eric overcome this difficulty.
Eric is from a relatively affluent household in the middle class sector of society. Eric does not suffer from any physical or emotional difficulties. Indeed, he seems to be a very happy child who enjoys interacting with his classmates. The challenge he faces, however, is his frustration level when he struggles with a skill that his peers seem to master more easily than he does. This frustration could lead to the development of emotional and social issues if not addressed right away.
According to Dyal, Carpenter and Wright (n.d., p. 556), the decision regarding an appropriate AT system for Eric would be depend upon an Individual Education Plan (IEP) team, of which the teacher and school leader are an important part. It is also important to include Eric's parents in this decision making process. During contact with his parents,…… [Read More]
According to Patton (1998) the overrepresentation of African-American children in special education programs that are intended for students that have serious emotional or behavioral disorders, learning disabilities, and mental disabilities has continued to be a problem even though many researchers have recognized the problems that have occurred as a result of such overrepresentation. In fact there is exhaustive amounts of literature that explains the "causal factors that range from failure of the general education system (Artiles & Trent, 1994; Deno, 1970; MacMillan & Hendrick, 1993; McDermott, 1987; Townsend, Thomas, Witty, & Lee, 1996) to inequities associated with the special education referral, assessment, and placement processes (Harry & Anderson, 1994; Mercer, 1973)."
With all these things understood, the problematic issue of overrepresentation of African-Americans in special education continues even after the causes of such overrepresentation have been found and accepted as accurate. For instance, research over the years has found that in spite of all the research and recommendations concerning this problem, the proportion of African-American students labeled as mentally disabled has "not changed much from 38% in 1975 when those students constituted 15% of the school population. In 1991 they made up 16% of this nation's school population and 35% of the special education population (Harry & Anderson, 1994)." Additionally the overrepresentation of African-American males in particular has also been thoroughly noted as it pertains to disciplinary practices (corporal punishment and suspension) and the fact that with the context of certain special education categories black students receive their special education in segregated classrooms or in buildings that are completed separated from an inclusive setting (Harry & Anderson, 1994).
Causes of Overrepresentation
Fitzgerald (2006) explains that the overrepresentation of Black males in Special education has much to do with racism and the need to control a population that is often viewed as a threat. The author explains that there is a systematic effort to control and punish black male students who attend public schools in America. He asserts that this system is the byproduct of the ideologies embraced during slavery (Feagin 2000; Hutchinson 1994). The author first posits that since White men who controlled the American school system believed that Black males were a threat to them both physically and sexually. In addition these individuals created myths and manipulated stereotypes to justify the need for social control (Cose 2002; Feagin 2000; Hutchinson 1994;Fitzgerald (2006).
Other researchers have…… [Read More]
Special Education in the Context Of Education Reform
This monograph by the Center on Education Policy (CEP) looks at how well three major Midwest cities -- Cleveland, Milwaukee and Chicago -- have been able to comply with the federal special education law IDEA. A guiding principle of this study is that "children placed in special education are general education first," emphasizing that both branches of education share responsibility for students with IEP's.
CEP found significant difficulty with compliance, especially that inner city residents need help understanding the laws and that they need better access to advocates.
CEP found specific improvements: in Chicago in identification, referral staff training, and ongoing classroom assessment; in Cleveland, with general education teachers accepting their role in teaching these students, with improved access to regular curriculum and classrooms; and in Milwaukee, a more streamlined IEP process and improved collaboration among staff. However, they also found significant problems.
A large gap remains between the achievement of students covered under IDEA and students without IEP's.
Even though IDEA was last revised in 1997, schools were still struggling to implement some of its requirements and are worried that the new reenactment will bring yet more changes before they had fully implemented the last version.
The schools noted that legal concerns tend to dominate special education concerns now. Court decisions cause significant changes. A recent one requires changes in how placement decisions are made as well as teacher certifications for both special and general education.
The cities continue to struggle with staff shortages, difficult teaching conditions and providing adequate amounts of staff development.
Personnel are burdened with excessive paperwork, large classes, poor pay as well as the challenges of teaching in the inner city. Districts face critical staff shortages, especially for bilingual staff. Districts struggle to identify early intervention candidates. Current achievement testing does not serve children with special needs…… [Read More]
An IQ level below 70 signifies a deficiency in adaptive functioning.
The possible causes of mental retardation may be attributed to three genetic disorders - down syndrome, fetal alcohol syndrome and fragile X syndrome. The impaired genetics conditions are believed to be the most common causes of mental retardation. In addition, researchers have identified few other causes that may profoundly heighten the risk for developing mental retardation in a child. Difficulties during or following pregnancy may also result in severe problem in the fetus such as genetic mutation occurring during fetal development or if the mother suffers from rubella during her pregnancy. In addition, if the baby is not exposed to sufficient oxygen during pre and post-birth phases, it may lead to developmental disability following brain damage. Malnutrition or iodine deficiency may contribute to the development of mental retardation. Institutionalization at a very young age as well as sensory deprivation for a prolonged period of time is considered as the significant environmental variables increasing the risk of being mentally retarded. The forceps delivery increases the risk of getting mentally retarded child three times higher than a normal delivery (Szymanski & King 1999).
Significance of IQ
An Intelligent Quotient (IQ) refers to the standardized test intending to perform a quantitative analysis of intelligence of an individual in different areas including language, understanding, numerical literacy, problem-solving skills and decision-making ability (DSM IV 2000). While the average score is defined as 100, the score below 75 will frequently, not always, imply individuals having difficulties in interacting with daily life-events. As standardized in Wechsler Adult Intelligent Scale (WAIS), mental retardation can be categorized under four identified spectrums - IQ level varying between 55 to 70 implies mild level of mental retardation which is educable and the required intensity of supports is intermittent, between 40 to 54 it is implied as moderate and this level is trainable with limited intensity of required supports, between 25 to 39 the level of mental retardation is severe which is non-trainable and the intensity of required supports is extensive and IQ score below 25 signifies…… [Read More]