Educating Special Needs Students
Intellectual disability is a disability, which mostly originates before the age of eighteen years but may appear at any age. Intellectual disability is characterized by significant limitation in intellectual functioning and adaptive behavior necessary for everyday social and practical skills (Carlson, 2009). It occurs due to developmental defects before birth or brain injuries during or after birth.
Intellectual disability comprises mental retardation, minor intellectual deficits, specific learning disability, brain injuries, and neurodegenerative diseases. Intellectual disabilities impair learner’s conceptual, social, and practical skills. These skills are fundamental for the learning process to take place effectively. For instance, mental retardation is diagnosed when an individual has an intelligence quotient of less than seventy per cent.
Mental retardation originates at age below eighteen years and it impairs a child’s learning ability by affecting his or her practical, conceptual, and social abilities (Hassiotis, Barron, & Hall, 2009). The child cannot concentrate in class, cannot relate with other in class and is very forgetful. In addition, some children with mental retardation may display violent behavior towards their peers.
Children who suffer from brain damage or neurodegenerative disorders display normal intelligence quotient but their learning ability is impaired because of destruction of their cognitive abilities. For example, they are very forgetful, show confusion and lack ability to concentrate. Specific learning disability occurs when an individual is unable to learn the conventional way due to disorders such as dyslexia. The learner with specific learning disability requires extra effort from the educator in order to go through the education system effectively. Intellectual disabilities resulting from brain injuries originate after birth and impairing an individual’s coordination, communication and cognitive skills.
According to Hassiotis et al. (2009), autism, a disorder of neural development is characterized by impaired communication and social interaction. Children suffering from autism begin to display sighs of the mental disorder, which include repetitive and restricted behavior from six months to three years of age. The signs begin to show before a child is below three years of age. Autism develops due to genetic mutation and exposure to agents that cause birth defects such as pesticides, childhood vaccines, and heavy metal. Autism affects the information processing function of the brain affecting how nerve cells connect and organize. Children with autism have impaired social and cognitive skills, which affect their learning ability. The child may show disregard for others due to lack of attachment emotion, have problem communicating and cannot make eye contact with others.
Severe disability is a disability, which limits more than physical and mental capacity. An individual with severe disability has no mobility, interpersonal, self-care, communication, work skills, and tolerance functionalities (Carlson, 2009). Severe disability may be as result of accidents and diseases after birth, which causes physical and mental injuries or birth defects. An individual with severe disability is dependent on others for basic personal care such as feeding and other basic functions thus would require a lot of social support in order to go through the education system.
According to Hassiotis, Barron, and Hall (2009), multiple disabilities result when an individual or child has combination of disabilities, which impairs his or her cognitive, social and cognitive skills as well as physical well-being. Multiples disabilities occur due to defects before birth, accidents, or diseases, which attack the physical and mental capabilities of an individual. Multiple disabilities affect ability to learn because he or she may not be in a position to communicate, move from one place to another, and concentrate in class or relate with others. Children with multiple disabilities require social support, which goes beyond the confines of a classroom.
The curriculum for children with severe children should concentrate largely on building their skills depending on the special needs from the disability. The policy advocating for education for all is heavily influenced in developing the behaviorism and skills prerequisite for moving into mainstream education system. When a child has developed the skills to accommodate general curriculum, he or she joins normal schools and follow the general curriculum. For this curriculum to be effective parents should be vigilant in order to help in early diagnosing and helping the child cope with severe disability in order to prepare him or her to join the normal education institutions. Although its comforting for children with disabilities to be isolated in special learning institutions its critical for educators to make the child realize that despite of their disability they can still lead a normal life and get decent education.
Largely because the outcomes of the general curriculum for students with less severe disability and other students do not differ that greatly, the education systems needs to incorporate children with learning disabilities into the general student fraternity by training educators to be sensitive to the needs of students who have learning disabilities. It is increasingly difficult for the government to get educators who can meet the needs of all children learning institutions for children with disabilities. The other alternative would be to incorporate children with severe learning disability by ensuring all learning institutions adhere to policies and rules governing students with disabilities.
Even if children with severe with severe disability should be incorporated into the general curriculum, educators should be sensitive to the special needs of students with severe disabilities (Rapley, 2004). Learning institutions should accommodate the special needs by ensuring the classroom arrangements accommodate movement students with movement disability, provision of technology to aid reading of students with hearing and visual impairment and educators should be trained to be sensitive needs for children with severe disability.
The Bayfield School district, La Plata, Colorado has several policies and rules, which govern learning for children with severe disabilities. These policies include qualification for learning sponsorship for children with disability. This policy is formulated in accordance with the education for all Acts, which allows equal opportunity for access to education for all despite of the physical and mental ability.
The policies cover issues of discrimination on basis of disability. In addition, the policies specify that despite learning institutions be not required to provide special accommodation if a disabled student is eligible as a disable person the institution should arrange to make facilities, which accommodate his or her special needs on application. The policies also cover provision of special technology reading and hearing for students who have visual and hearing impairment.
The Bayfield School district policies and rules stipulate the due process for eligibility for persons with disability. In addition the policies stipulate due policies which should followed in case of suspicion of discrimination on basis of discrimination. The Bayfield school district does not policies, which govern the training of educators to accommodate special needs for students with special needs.
Carlson, L. (2009). The faces of intellectual disability: philosophical reflections. Indiana: Indiana University Press
Hassiotis, A. Barron, D. & Hall, I. (2009). Intellectual Disability Psychiatry: A Practical Handbook. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons.
Rapley, M. (2004).The social construction of intellectual disability. Massachusetts: Cambridge University Press.