This week’s reading was chapters 1, 2 and five of the book Human exceptionality: School, Community and Family. The key points in each chapter are summarized below
Chapter one opens a glimpse of how the societal view of people with disability has changed over the years, from a period when disability was looked upon as a weakness or even a symptom of an inferior genetic makeup, to an era where there is international convergence on support and inclusion of people with special abilities in the 21st century. One striking feature of the chapter is the story on Roosevelt who was elected as a US president in 1932 and went through untold pains just to conceal his ‘’diffrerences’’
The provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act, passed in 1990 also form an integral part of this chapter. This act defines what disability is, giving it a broader meaning so as increase the bracket of discrimination. The major provisions of the Act which include those in relation to, employment, transportation, public accommodations, telecommunications and governments are also discussed.
The chapter also describes labeling of people with emphasis on the fact that how we label people with special abilities can be described as either positive or negative.
The three approaches to describing human differences have also been dealt with. The three approaches include, developmental, cultural and the self labeling approach.
Other issues of importance that are described in this chapter include the role of psychology, healthcare and social services professionals in meeting the needs of people with special abilities
Chapter two introduces the early forms of educational services for students with disabilities. It goes on to show that the early 201th century, special education was not a right but a privilege. Education for special students was selective and provided in separate special institutions.
The five provisions of IDEA are also discussed in this chapter. They include labeling special students using non discriminatory assessment, Parental safeguard and involvement in the education process, procedural safeguards to ensure that decisions do not adversely affect the children’s life, Entitlement to free and appropriate public education. And the right to study in an environment that is free and consistent with their social and physical needs.
The special need referral, assessment and placement process has also been discussed. The major issues identified include provisions with regard to; determination of the need for a referral, assessment of the students eligibility and educational needs, determination of the most non restrictive environment and also the development of an individualized education program.
Other key issues that have discussed in this chapter include identification of the four school accountability principles as is a requirement of the NCLB Act., evidence based special education and the principles of zero tolerance and zero exclusion in American schools are also discussed
Chapter 5 covers Cultural and Linguistic Diversity. They issues discussed in this chapter include;
The three ways in which the purpose and approaches to education in the US differs from those of other multi cultural education; the main issue here is that the US purpose is to promote a similar level of performance whereas the multicultural set up fosters cultural pluralism and therefore differences
A description of the trends of population among culturally diverse groups in the United States and how they affect the education system are included in the chapter too.
Also discussed in this chapter is the ways in which language diversity contributes to the difficulties in assessment of children with special needs. Different issues that affect the learning of children with special abilities such as poverty and its effect on academic difficulties in different cultural backgrounds, migrancy among culturally diverse backgrounds and areas that would require particular attention in the development of an individualized education plan are also discussed.
In a classroom set up, the lessons of chapter one are very important in ensuring that children with disability get the attention that they require and are not discriminated on the basis of their disability. In fact, the individual talents of the children with special needs should be nurtured as there is glaring evidence of global leaders and sporting stars that have had disabilities in their lives yet they have been very successful. Children with disabilities should also be educated on their rights as provided for in the various acts of the US constitution.
Lessons from chapter two can be utilized in a classroom in ensuring that all children have the right to education regardless of their physical characteristics. Teachers should also ensure that the classroom learning environment is non restrictive parental involvement in the education of their children is promoted and encouraged at all levels. The chapter also encourages teachers to create an individualized learning environment that takes into consideration the specific needs of each particular child.
Lessons from chapter five will help teachers to devise learning methodologies that will help the students to have maximum learning benefits in a multi cultural environment. The teacher will also be encouraged to develop an individualized education plan so as to take in to consideration the specific student needs even in a multicultural environment.