Special Education the Role Term Paper

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Special Education

The Role of Special Education in Dealing with Students with Impairments and a Critical Insight over Preparing for Collaborative Team Teaching

Special education refers to the mode of education given to the students with impairments in order to meet their unique educational needs. The programs designed under the curriculum of special education are intended for capacitating the students in terms of educational, vocational and social potentials. There are several types of impairments that are identified as imposing interference with the conventional mode of education. The present study will limit its discussion with autism spectrum disorder, physical and health disabilities, deaf culture, speech and language disorder, emotional and behavior disorder and cognitive impairment. In addition, the study will focus on the required modifications in the teaching styles to accommodate students with these disabilities.

Autism Spectrum Disorder

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Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) refers to a wide array of neurodevelopmental conditions which involve behaviorally defined syndrome influencing multiple areas of functioning. Features are prominent, to varying degrees, including social affiliations, communicative proficiency, degree of interests, and sensory reactions. Almost all of the features are typically apparent during a child's early years, and certainly affect educational performance in an adverse fashion. Typically a child is identified with ASD who exhibits a range of traits including Autistic Disorder, Rett's Disorder, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder, Asperger's Disorder and Pervasive Developmental Disorder.

Term Paper on Special Education the Role of Special Education Assignment

Children suffering from ASD have complex and frequently exigent educational needs. To meet these demands effectively, teaching styles needs to be modified in order to accommodate such students in the class. The first line of intervention for children suffering from ASD is educational and behavioral, so the development of collaborative and positive family-school association is significantly important. Working in a collaborative fashion and sharing relevant information with each other help to develop a strong framework for educational program for students with ASD (Berkell, Malgeri & Streit 1996). The special education will be initiated from the point of evaluation for identifying disabilities followed by the intervention strategies effective for the children with Autism Spectrum Disorders.

The choice of an intervention strategy largely depends on an individualized assessment of needs along with a clearly defined goal, whereas the selection of strategies is based on the enduring observation of the progress. For students with ASD, implementation of Individual Education Programs (IEPs) should be widespread including environmental support, applied behavioral analysis, intervention for self-direction, socialization and communication and intervention for engagement (Koegel & Koegel 1995).

Applied behavioral analysis includes organized instructional methodologies to alter behavior in assessable fashion, with the purpose of influencing acceptable behaviors, while discouraging problematic behavior. This may include highly-structured systematic strategies such as incidental training, pivotal response training, picture exchange communication system (PECS) (Bondy & Frost 1994), structured teaching and functional communication training (92 NAC 51, 1999). A great deal of attention to social and communication objectives is essential in designing an effective learning program. With the help of planned activities with naturally developing peers can help children with ASD to gain an improved social and communicative skills which is an important component of the IEP.

Environmental support involves teaching strategies, alternations and adaptations which include understanding of observed characteristics at temporal, spatial, procedural and assertion level. Children with ASD tend to exhibit limited or idiosyncratic interactions with events, objects and people, so it is essential for both teachers and parents to adapt activities and teaching materials in order to support more appropriate engagement. This may involve directly teaching the usage of toys or others objects, developing visual cues in order to trim down verbal and physical response and finding ways to turn the tasks more consequential and inspiring (Koegel & Koegel 1995).

Physical and Health Disabilities

Students suffering from physical and health disabilities may vary significantly in the nature and severity of their disabilities, however, many physical and health disabilities do not limit students' academic performance (Sherrill, 1993). Anderson (Caldwell & Palfrey et al., 1997) designed a checklist of items to regard as in developing an Individualized Education Program (IEP) for students with health and physical disabilities. This may include transportation, building accessibility, physical, occupational and speech therapy, self-help skills, curricular modifications, classroom assistance, physical education, fire safety, home/hospital service. Environmental factors for students with health and physical disabilities might involve extended time, an add-on writer for class assignments, sufficient space in the classroom for accommodating equipments, or for privileged seating arrangement in order to overcome their educational difficulties (Caldwell, et al. 1997). Adaptive equipments including adapted keyboards, track balls, key guards or speech recognition system may also be necessitated (St. Louis Community College Access Office, 2000).

Deaf Culture

Deaf culture refers to a phenomenon which is beyond a medical condition. Individuals suffering from deafness problem are not simply having 'diseased ears', but they do belong to a unique community in which the sense of culture is optimum among those who depend on sign language as their primary mode of communication. Similar to African-American culture, deaf culture asserts the fact that the sign language plays an increasingly fundamental role in the cultural alliance of the deaf community as a whole.

Sound and Fury - Hearing World and Deaf Culture

In the documentary 'Sound and Fury' directed by Josh Aronson and produced by Roger Weisberg, an in-depth insight at the two cultures 'Hearing' and 'Deaf', eroded against each other stuns the audience new to the later. At the humanitarian point-of-view, it is beyond any acceptance that such fear and prejudice subsists between deaf and hearing worlds. The movie makes the issue transparent that these two are indeed separate worlds. Following a cochlear implantation, the difference between the hearing world and deaf culture becomes most prominent in terms of dealing with the intricacies of budging between hearing world and deaf world. Being both emotionally moving and intellectually challenging, the movie sheds light over deaf identity and illustrates the strong sense of culture can overshadow the notion of mere technological intervention. The documentary clearly surmises the conflict between deaf identity and culture with that of the hearing world from socio-psychological perspective, emphasizing over the issue concerning deaf culture as not a mere deafness but a way of living life.

Speech and Language Disorder student with speech and language disorder may have mild to severe level of communication disorder that negatively affects his or her academic performance such as language impairment, voice impairment, articulation impairment and fluency impairment. The major causes contributing to the development of speech and language disorder may include hearing loss, brain injury, neurological disorder, mental retardation, physical impairments such as cleft lip, drug abuse and vocal abuse or misuse (Hamaguchi 2001).

While accommodating students with speech and language disorder in the classroom setup, the teacher must focus on integrating several important aspects in modifying the learning environment for the student in concern. The teacher may take her best effort to minimize any extraneous noise in the classroom so that the students with disabilities may become able to put their attention over the relevant stimuli in the environment. While offering vocal instructions, the teacher needs to maintain the minimum reasonable distance with the students and to offer instructions in smaller cluster assisting in better understanding and comprehension (Ladd 2003). In addition, the teacher should facilitate sufficient visual cues including pictures, graphs and charts in the classroom. The learning environment should be positive for the student where avoid rectifying speech difficulties is strictly prohibited as it may lead the student to experience weaker self-esteem. In addition, teacher must encourage the students to identify and enhance their positive qualities in order to promote better facilitation in the educational paradigm (Ladd 2003).

Emotional and Behavior Disorders

Emotional and behavior disorders are characterized by the behavioral condition unsuitable in the context of environmental stimuli in association with extreme mood disorder, negatively influencing a student's academic performance, although can not be categorized under intellectual, sensory or health factors (Sternberg & Williams 2002).

While accommodating students with emotional and behavior disorders, teacher must design the session in such a fashion during which disruptive behaviors from students with emotional and behavior disorders could possibly be avoided. The seating arrangement of these students with this disorder need to be organized in the places where they can be easily observed and accessed, so that any potential harm to others or themselves could be circumvented. Teachers must use checklists in order to monitor the behavioral changes in the students suffering from this disorder. The teacher must ensure that all the penalties concerning negative behavior as well as rules for group assignments are explained clearly prior to the implementation of such penalties. Instead of setting up goals on a long-term basis, the short-term goal in sequence is found to be more effective in dealing with students with such difficulties, promoting an effective learning environment. Students must be encouraged to maintain own checklists in order to carry out successful self-evaluation. This eventually leads them to stay organized and respond in a better way and to have a clear perspective of their own progress (Dice 1993).

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