Educating Special Needs Students Essay
Today with so many children being born with some type of disability it is essential that schools are equipped to educate them in regular classrooms. There are many challenges children with disabilities faces and the greatest one is the myth that they cannot learn. With the appropriate instructions provided by certified special education teachers they can learn as well as the ones with disabilities. Their disabilities may range from mental retardation, autism, hearing loss, and vision impairments.
Many children have severe or multiple disabilities which will cause them to need accommodations and modification to be a part of a general education curriculum (Hardman et al. , 2009). Mental Retardation Mental retardation is individuals with limited intellectual functions and adaptive behavior which is recognized before age 18. Adaptive behavior is skills that individuals cannot perform alone effectively such as communication, social interactions, caring for them self, using transportation, and counting money. Mental retardation is also called intellectual disability.
Intelligence (Intelligence Quotient/ IQ) is defined as an individual overall mental ability, ability to solve problems and to learn. These tests assess a person general knowledge skills, vocabulary and reasoning ability (GCU, lecture 4, 2008). The cause of intellectual disability can include (1) Prenatal factors are to be considered as causes for infant’s developmental delays which include harmful chemical, addiction to alcohol, infections, syphilis, HIV, and environmental exposures. Mothers that do not receive proper prenatal care or smoke can also cause developmental disabilities. 2) Perinatal factors such as premature birth, trauma at birth or infection transmitted during birth (herpes) can cause developmental disabilities. (3) Postnatal factors are infections that occur after the birth such as meningitis, lack of oxygen while injury, of lack of nutrition and result in disabilities for the child (Ambrosino, Ambrosino, Heffernan, Shuttlesworth, 2008). Student with mental retardation is entitled to a free appropriate education through an individualized education program (IEP).
Pairing students with other classmates can facilitate cooperative learning in academic and social skills. They should be included in general education curriculum so they can interact and learn with their peers. Some changes may be needed, accommodations and modifications, to help the child in the regular classroom (Hourcade, 2002). Autism Complex developmental brain disorders such as Pervasive Developmental Disorders Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified, Asperger’s Syndrome, Rett Syndrome and Childhood Disintegrative Disorder are associated with individuals with autism.
The three symptoms of autism are impaired social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication, imagination, unusual or severely limited activities and interests. Parents will notice these symptoms in children during the first three years of childhood. Facts on autism suggest that children with autism have a normal life expectancy. There is no single cause of autism; several factors are involved such as viruses and chemicals, and disruption of normal brain development. Children with autism must undergo interventions, strategies, and therapy. Therapies help the child learn social and language skills.
Because children learn better when they are young, it is suggested that therapy should begin early in the child’s life which could have a great impact on brain development. It is believed that certain genetic disorders such as Fragile X, Tuberous Sclerosis, Angelman’s Syndrome, and mothers being expose to environmental agents such as maternal rubella or cytomegalovirus or chemical such as thalidomide or valproate during pregnancy has a great impact on children being diagnose with autism (Edelson, 2007). Severe Disabilities and Multiple Disabilities
Severe disabilities are when students’ disability prevents them from accomplishing certain activities without the help of assistant. Most time mental retardation is included as one of the disability associated with severe disabilities. Additionally, they have medical conditions and physical limitations that affect their movement, such as vision and/or hearing. Individual who are severely disabled can become functional with the skillful help of inventions. Persons with multiple disabilities can also fall under the criteria for severe disabilities, but everyone with severe disabilities does not necessarily have multiple disabilities.
Multiple disabilities are defined as individuals that have more than one major disability which affect their cognitive development, their movement and sensory impairment, such as mental retardation with cerebral palsy. This can cause the individual to not be able to accomplish an education because they cannot receive the special education accommodations needed for just one of the impairment which will make learning a challenge. It is suggested by State University that mental retardation is present in 60 to 70 percent of individuals with cerebral palsy.
Diagnose for these individuals are mostly done by intelligence test (IQ) and adaptive behavior tests; these tests may include muscle tone, breathing control, and vision and hearing tests. The best source of information to rely on for effective diagnose is the information provided by teachers and parents on the students’ adaptive behaviors, such as how they can take care of themselves, communication with others, and socials skills (State University, 2011). Areas of Curriculum Curriculum for children with low-incidence disabilities is set by the child’s need and not their disability type.
Families and friends should be involved in the curriculum planning of the students and the curriculum should meet what the child is able to accomplish. The curriculum should include functional reading which will involve the child being able to recognize sight words and apply them to daily activities and be able to read printed material presented to them. Functional math will be one area they must be able to perform as it will play a major factor in their daily living. They should be able to count money, learn how to pay bills, time management, and simple calculates.
It is recommended that these students should be able to accomplish this by second grade but many are not able to do this which will require more instructions. They must be taught community and leisure skills to be able participate actively in the communities to benefit from the knowledge they have received. This is mostly done by involving the students directly in community based instructions. The most important curricula for severe disabilities individuals are home and personal skills. They must master skills such as eating, dressing, using the bathroom, bathing, brushing their teeth, and preparing their food.
Without knowing how to communicate will make all the other skills not important. Communication and social skills are taught so the students will be able to communicate and interact with peers in inclusive classrooms (National Center, 2010). At the local school level, Mrs. Nicks stated that in the Hollandale School District they are guided by the same curricula and policies mandated by standards of the state. The basic guidelines for autism, mental retardation, severe and multiple disabilities are as in every other school district.
Children with disabilities that prevent them from learning in an inclusive classroom must be given the opportunity to learn as stated by IDEA Amendments of 1997. She stated that the curriculum also include science studies, music, social studies, writing skills and physical education for the students without severe or multiple disabilities. Parents must present or request an IEP for students with disabilities. The IEP will indicate the types of services needed or if they have participated in any of the services before. The student will be tested to document the statue of their disabilities