Through this paper, I will talk about the children that have special needs or disabilities, when a child might be diagnosed, and laws that protect children with special needs or disabilities, and where a child should be at in their developmental domains.
There are six domains in early childhood development. The physical domain involves growth and change in the child or infant. A parent, or caregiver should observe the child in these years because of how important it is to early development.
The second domain is social development. In the social domain, children become attached to their mother or father, make new friends, and part take in playing with other children. The cognition domain, the children begin to learn new things, and become aware of their surroundings. In language, children begin speaking and being able to express themselves with words or even motions. The emotional domain allows children to show who they are becoming, or how they might feel in that particular moment.
In the early literacy domain, it is what children’s knowledge is based off of when learning to read and write.
Many young children are diagnosed with special needs or disabilities like Autism, through observation. Observations allow teachers to understand what a child is interested in and how they are currently learning. Observations about a child’s development should cover the six main developmental domains, which are the cognitive, physical, social, emotional, literary, and language skills. It helps guide the teachers to understand how to structure the day, set up activities, what materials to provide, and how to approach the child about the learning opportunity.
The teacher can better determine whether program goals are being met, the pace at which students are learning, and perhaps which new activities might be introduced to target specific needs. Observation is essential for determining each child’s strengths and weaknesses and tailoring instruction to support improvement (Howard, Williams, Miller, & Aiken, 2014 pp. 375-381).
Through observation and assessment processes teachers and even the child’s parents can become aware of what children know and can do. There are lots of skills that develop in the first three years of a child’s life like reaching, crawling, talking, eating, dressing, playing or even interacting with children. Not all children meet at the developmental milestones at the same time as another child would. Early intervention can help infants and toddlers with delays get back on track to be where they should be at the age level they are at. Getting services early helps many children catch up and thrive in school and in life overall (Howard, Williams, Miller, & Aiken, 2014 pp. 342-350). While being educated in this course, I have learned a lot about children with Down Syndrome. It is when the person has three copies of chromosome 21, instead of the normal two copies that a person should have.
Usually at birth the child will have certain characteristic signs which would include a smaller head, short neck, and even flat facial features. Some of the specific learning difficulties that characterize many children with Down Syndrome are hearing and vision weakness, fine motor skill impairment due to low muscle tone, weak auditory memory, short attention span, and distractibility. Most individuals with Down Syndrome have IQs that fall in the mild to moderate range of intellectual disability (Howard, Williams, Miller, & Aiken, 2014 pp. 250-252). It is important to understand that just because they have a difficult time reaching certain milestones, does not mean that a child with Down Syndrome will never reach it.
Children with Down Syndrome, may not always have an aid with them. Usually the aid would help the child to go about their day and benefit as much as they can while working with the child. If the child does not have an aid due to buget cost and such, I would try and incorporate them into my classroom as much as possible. One method is to teach reading to students with Down Syndrome would be to provide them with many visuals of what they are learning, or what they will be doing. This helps the child to understand the concept and get a feel of what is going on. Another method I would use is to break information down into small bits. This will help the child to understand the material more without getting overwhelmed and frustrated.
By using clear, direct, and simple instructions it will also help with this. Secondly, I would schedule the majority of instructional time for the part of the day where the child does their best. I would allow them to take frequent breaks during instruction, as well. Again, this will help eliminate or decrease the child of getting overwhelmed and frustrated. Lastly, structure learning and teaching opportunities to enable the student to engage in tasks with other students, who can act as appropriate role models is a great method to use. The other students can set an example for the child with special needs and help them to be successful.
One of the most common legal implications is the Individualized Education Program, or IEP. This helps establish specific education for a child’s explicit needs. The IEP is a written contract that is created for a child that is in need of special education. Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA, is a program that is offered to families that need assistance with children that have special needs. IDEA allows students to be able to participate in activities like other children so they never feel excluded. (‘Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)’, 2018).
Americans With Disabilities Act, or commonly known as, ADA, sure they have the same opportunities as everyone else to be part of everyday life. The ADA protects the ability of people with disabilities to enjoy jobs, schooling, etc. (‘Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)’, 2018). Another more common one is, Every Student Succeeds Act, or also known as ESSA, replaces the No Child Left Behind Act. The Every Student Succeeds Act is the most current version of our country’s federal education law. The goal of this act is to improve educational fairness for students from lower-income families by administering federal funds to school districts serving the low-income students (‘Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)’, 2018).
In conclusion, observation helps educators get to know and understand the child and the world they create around them. Observation is necessary to learn about a child’s strong and weaker points. With the use of observation, teachers are able to see and understand if a child is delaying in any of the developmental domains. With early diagnosis, early intervention can help infants and toddlers with delays catch up in their development. Acting on the situation, can help the child to be more successful not only in school, but in life overall.