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An Introduction To Special Education, Essay Example

Pages: 4

Words: 1190

Essay

Unfortunately, not all people in the world have equal development patterns, and in case some irregularities occur, children are likely to acquire disabilities of certain types. As Heward (2002) poses it, there are some children with “invisible disabilities”, i.e. learning disabilities that do not reveal themselves physically but are expressed in the individual peculiarities of social and cognitive behavior. However, these are cases in which health impairments are of physical nature, being visible. They are measured according to three indicators: the age at which the disability was acquired (prenatal, perinatal or postnatal), the severity with which the impairment affects the body of the person having it, and the visibility of impairment (Heward, 2002). The present paper discusses some kinds of disabilities of different types as well as practices and procedures used in educational establishments to meet the needs of people having them.

Disabilities are measured according to the scale offered by the IDEA legislation – it includes 14 terms, only several of which will become the subject of the present analysis. The first kind of disorder is autism – it is a developmental disorder that occurs in the early childhood and results in the problems of social integration of individuals with autism as well as their cognitive abilities and behavior on a daily basis. The cause of autism is still not clear, but the most widely spread version is the genetic development disorder in which hormones also play a significant part (Autism Fact Sheet, 2010). The peculiarities of autism’s reflection in daily lives are the repetitive behaviors that constitute a kind of rituals for them to follow, impaired social interactions, and problems in learning the language as well as some common social rituals (Autism Fact Sheet, 2010).

The next disorder to be considered is mental retardation. It is a complex mental disorder that is characterized by the American Association on Mental Retardation (AAMR) in the following terms:

“Mental retardation is a disability characterized by significant limitations both in intellectual functioning and in adaptive behavior as expressed in conceptual, social, and practical adaptive skills. This disability originates before age 18” (Hourcade, 2002).

Though the general condition under which a mental retardation case can be diagnosed is the low IQ test level, it is not the only factor that influences the diagnosis. For the person to have mental retardation there should be some additional symptoms like complicated adaptive behavior, i.e. social and practical skills that people must implement for their daily activities and interactions. In case these procedures are challenging or absolutely absent in the practice of an individual, and in case they are combined with low IQ scores, then it is possible to consider him or her having mental retardation (Hourcade, 2002).

Mental retardation can be of four types according to the severity of the disorder: mild, moderate, severe and profound mental retardation. Depending on the level of severity, those who have diagnosed mental retardation usually need from intermittent to pervasive support in their daily activities (Hourcade, 2002). The causes for mental retardation are multiple – in case of mild mental retardation heredity or environment are likely to be the cause, while severer forms of retardation have the medical or physical cause such as chromosome abnormalities etc. (Hourcade, 2002).

Finally, it is necessary to discuss severe/multiple disabilities and their clinical manifestations. In general, such a diagnosis may be made for people with autism or mental retardation – it is not a diagnosis in itself, but a combination of diagnoses when people are subject to a set of impairments at once, and the measure of severity is extensive. According to the IDEA classification, it is possible to outline the following symptoms that are usually evident in cases of severe and multiple disabilities: limited speech or communication; difficulty in basic physical mobility; tendency to forget skills through disuse; trouble generalizing skills from one situation to another; and/or a need for support in major life activities (e.g., domestic, leisure, community use, vocational) (NYCHCY, 2010). The causes for this type of disabilities also depend on the specificity of the disability and the severity of its revelation – they may range from environmental to genetic ones.

Surely, there is a necessity to meet the specific needs of children with all these kinds of disabilities at school. Education of children with disabilities also falls into the competence of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) – according to the NICHCY information, it sets high standards for achievement and guides help and services necessary for schools to cater for the needs of impaired children of different ages. The IDEA provisions have many specific areas of action depending on the types of educational establishments, types of disabilities and their severity. For example, education starting at 3 years old, i.e. special education planned for preschool children, is free of charge in the USA and comprises the Early Intervention Services (Part C of IDEA); being followed by school education in grades K through 12 (Part B) (NICHCY, 2010).

Speaking about the Grand Canyon University in particular, it is fully possible to say that special education facilities are available, developed and widely spread in the GCU. It has a disability office that can be easily contacted, and then receive accommodations through the university. The Accommodation Request Form can be received in the Disability Office; together with all supporting documentation provided, the student will be provided with special educational facilities. The supporting documentation should be provided by a medical provider or from testing services – it should include the specific disability the student has and the functional limitations for the GCU administration will be able to choose appropriate accommodations. The Accommodation Request Form includes all detailed information about the disability as well as the specific need for accommodation (e.g. the hearing impairment, vision impairment or blindness, learning disability etc.). Students can also describe the accommodations they are seeking. The GCU Online learning center is also one of the facilities designed specifically for students who cannot attend classes on a steady basis, i.e. working students or students with disabilities. The ANGEL system of online learning offers comfortable learning and assessment opportunities, online discussion forums, small learning groups etc. to make the GCU education available for everyone (The Grand Canyon University Official Site, 2010).

Summing up everything that has been said, it is vital to point out the fact that IDEA provisions are closely kept to across the USA, both in education and employment. Design of individual educational programs and involvement of assistance materials are key to successful training for students with any kinds of disabilities of any severity. Thus, it is possible to prove that every child has the right to learn and can do it successfully under the provisions of IDEA that are locally supported and promoted in every possible way.

References

Autism Fact Sheet (2010). The Child Development Institute Site. Retrieved March 31, 2010, from http://childdevelopmentinfo.com/disorders/autism_fact_ sheet.shtml

Heward, W. L. (2003). Exceptional children: An introduction to special education (7th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill.

Hourcade, J. (2002). Mental Retardation. Retrieved March 31, 2010, from http://www.ericdigests.org/2003-4/mental-retardation.html

National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NICHCY) (2010). Retrieved March 31, 2010, from http://www.nichcy.org/EducateChildren/ Pages/Default.aspx

The Grand Canyon University Official Site (2010). Retrieved April 5, 2010, from http://my.gcu.edu/Pages/default.aspx

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