Attitude, Legislation and Litigation: Students with Disabilities
The attitude of people, the laws governing them and the litigitation experiences affecting a specific group of people greatly affects how these people live within the society. This is true with the disabled students. Students with disabilities have experienced a rough road that can be comparable to the fight of the Black Americans for their rights. There are many forms of disabilities that plague students, some of which are not visible and can be detected only after undergoing some tests but some, especially those with physical disabilities that are very visible to the public.
Social Implications of Attitude towards Disabled Students
Disabled students passes through a lot of difficulties when merging with normal students thus the need for providing intervening services that help these students address their needs. Disables students are normally treated differently almost everywhere. In schools especially, they suffered “labeling problems”. When students are found to have disabilities even if these are mild disabilities, they automatically seem to be outcaste when in fact they are capable of doing normally what others can do. The main problem cause by this attitude towards the student with disabilities is reducing their self-esteem. When they lack their self-esteem, it affects their outlook in life (Osterholm, 2000).
The program of most schools to have inclusive education and integrated education programs to facilitate the learning of this group of students and eventually including them in the mainstream education is a good way of showing these students that they are not treated differently and their abilities are recognized. In this way, they develop the notion of self-respect and self-worth and would not feel inferior because their disabilities are not emphasized; instead their ability to learn with the normal students is accentuated.
There are numerous typed of student deficiencies that needs to be addressed differently. When students with disabilities are given proper attention and shown the right attitude especially towards enhancing their self-esteem, they could even help enhance the society where they belong instead of seeing them as a burden.
The attitude of the society towards disabled children has seen a dramatic shift. This can be seen through the usage of more politically correct terminologies to refer to them like referring to them as children with special needs rather than using the term disabled which has a negative effect not only to them but to other people who may hear them. The current social attitude towards them has also opened various opportunities for the students. Today, there is less segregation and separation of the students. They have been aligned with the mainstream which enhances their attitude towards themselves making them believe in their abilities.
Legislative and Litigation Implications towards the Lives of Disabled Students
There have been numerous legislations passed which affects disabled students and outlines the protection mechanisms available for disabled students. Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) “ensures that children with disabilities have the opportunity to receive a free appropriate public education, just like other children” (National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities, 2012). Specifically, this law focuses on providing free and appropriate public education (FAPE), nondiscriminatory evaluation, and individual education program (IEP), least restrictive environment, due process and parental participation. (Weiss, 2012). The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990 has also taken into another level the awareness of the society with regards to the discrimination of disabled children. Several other legislations are present that provide provisions for the rights of the differently abled student.
Likewise, several litigations have been heard that came up with decisions supporting the equal rights of students and provision of special trainings for teachers who teachers special children. The Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court in 1954 for example, is believed to be one of the major catalysts to the admittance of disabled students in regular schools. The existence of such laws and decisions have caused the coming out openly of children with special needs. They have also gain additional access to not only education but also other social services because of the provision of additional funds for schools catering to differently abled students and the provision of special services catering to them not only in schools but on other establishments.
The Future of Special Education
With the current changing social attitude towards children with disabilities and the current legislations and litigation decisions promoting and supporting the rights of these children, I foresee an eventual total acceptance of disabled students in our society. Likewise, government support and social services directed to them will be continuously pouring specially on the provision of additional trainings for the special education teachers resulting to increasing number of well-educated students and additional career opportunities for them not only because the law requires them to be prioritized but because they are highly competent. I am very hopeful that there will come a time when the term disabled students will totally vanish to be replaced by more positive terms that lessen the squalor these children feel for being treated differently from the rest.
Personal Views towards Disabled Students
Before, my idea of student disability leaned towards physical disabilities only. I wasn’t aware of the several types of disabilities present in students. My first encounter was with a physically crippled student sitting on his wheel chair, painstakingly wheeling himself towards the classroom in located in the second floor. I didn’t offer help to him because I saw the other student just passing him. However, deep inside, I appreciated his efforts to attend school even with a lot of sacrifices and without any special attention from the people around him. Personally, I thought that he should have a special treatment or at least he must be showed appreciation from the people around him for all the extra efforts he has. The next day, I had a chance to talk to him and was surprise to know that he does not want special attention from the people around him. In fact, he just wanted to be treated just like the “others” are treated for him not to feel odd. At that instant, I realized that he is trying to attend a regular school to feel “belongingness” and giving special treatment to him would only emphasize the disability he has.
Students with disabilities are just with special needs but they still want and they can also do what normal people want to.
Martin, Edwin (1996). The Legislative and Litigation History of Special Education. Retrieved from http://futureofchildren.org/futureofchildren/publications/docs/06_01_01.pdf
National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (2012). IDEA—the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. . Retrieved from http://nichcy.org/laws/idea
Osterholm, Karen (2000). Effects of Labeling Students “Learning Disabled”: Emergent Themes in the Research Literature 1970 Through 2000. Retrieved from http://www.nationalforum.com/Electronic%20Journal%20Volumes/Osterholm,%20Karen%20Effects%20of%20Labeling%20Students%20Learning%20Disabled.pdf
Weiss, Margaret (2012). The law and disabilities. Retrieved from http://www.learnnc.org/lp/pages/773