The Vision Impairment Inclusion Program in USA and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Research Paper Example
Words: 3526Research Paper
Introduction to Visual Impairment
Visual impairment is a term that experts use to explain any type of visionary loss, whether it is someone who has a loss of partial vision or someone who can’t see completely. Someone people are blind completely, but various others have that is named as legal blindness. In fact, they have not lost their complete sight but have lost their enough vision that they would have to stand 4 meters from a thing to see it that someone with complete vision can see from 50 meters away. There are number of people in every nation, which are visionary impaired. All countries have some programs in dealing and meeting the needs of such people. This paper aims to provide the comparison between the vision impairment inclusion program in USA and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Before making the comparison, it is necessary to discuss this issue in order to highlight the needs of such people especially in the education sector.
Governments all over the world have implemented various educational and academic programs for those people who are visually impaired. The major reason behind this is to promote those human beings which are less advantaged than others. Secondly, various research projects on such people have also indicated that their mental capabilities are sharper than ordinary human beings.
Needs of Programs for Visually Impaired Students
Such students who are visually impaired have distinctive educational needs, which need to be effectively met by exercising a team approach of parents, professionals and students. In order to fulfill their special requirements, students need to have specialized books, services and instructional materials in suitable media (counting braille), in addition to the specialized technology and equipment, so they can have equal and proper access to the specialized and core curricula, placements and accommodation to enable such students to most successfully compete with their peers and classmates in school and eventually in society.
The majority of education and learning in young children and infants occurs with the help of vision. Immediately, after the birth of an infant who is impaired visually, the parents may become come to know that their baby does not reply to them similarly as a child who is can see properly. In order to make certain a healthy emotional growth and bonding process, early intervention is necessary for both the family and the child.
Vision is the major sense on which the majority of strategies concerning to the traditional education are based. Such strategies must be amended to reflect the child’s auditory, visual and tactile capabilities. A child with an acute visual loss can straightly experience simply what is within their reach and can be touched safely, and in a number of situations, what can be heard. In order to guarantee an appropriate education, staff and families with particular training must work collectively to convey the world of practices to their child in a manner that is meaningful.
As the infant grows, the reduction or absence of vision noticeably confines knowledge of the world. No other type of sense can combine information, stimulate interest, or invite searching in the similar way, or as effectively and completely as vision. Students suffering from visual impairments can do and succeed, but at diverse rates and usually in dissimilar sequences. There must be particular intervention or inclusion, coordinated and synchronized by an educational team to make sure that proper development does occur.
It is vital to consider that education objectives for students with visual impairments are particularly the similar as those for students who can see. The objectives are, i.e. social competence, effective communication, personal independence and employability. T achieve these objectives; however, visually impaired students require particular modifications and interventions in the educational programs. A proper assessment of such unique educational requirements in all fields linked to the disability and instruction modified to meet such needs is necessary to confirm correct educational programming.
Undoubtedly, the lack of vision considerably influences the learning. The educational needs that are unique in nature established by a visual impairment can sum up as follows:
- Curriculum fields that need unique adaptations or strategies for visually impaired students include academic functioning, development of concept, communication skills, motor/sensory skills, emotional/social skills, mobility and orientation, skills for daily living, vocational/career skills and use of low vision.
- Visually impaired students need a range of support services and program so that the team can choose the most appropriate placement in the slightest restrictive surroundings for each individual student with visual impairment.
- The loss of vision can result in delayed development of concept that without efficient intervention severely influences the student’s emotional, social, vocational and academic development.
- Visually impaired students often must be taught with the help of alternate channels, by practicing their other senses.
- Such students often need individualized instruction because instructions that are grouped based for learning particular skills may not be proven in a significant manner.
- Visually impaired students often require specialized skills in addition to specialized materials, books and equipment for learning with the help of alternate means.
- Visually impaired students are limited in obtaining information with the help of secondary learning because they are usually unaware of subtle approaches in their surroundings.
The Vision Impairment Inclusion Program In United State of America
In the United States, providing equal access to all students and individuals who are visually impaired is of utmost importance. The visual impairment is the key element of American Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Americans with Disabilities Act of 1992 and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The government of United States believes that access to inclusion programs for visually impaired students involves much more than presenting ramps.
Inclusion programs in the United States, occasionally considered as “the blindness system,” comprise over 1,400 local, state, national and regional agencies, libraries, schools and other organizations for students who are visually impaired. The blindness system also includes the manufacturers of products for blind and visually impaired students in addition to the agencies, which are engaged in serving older American. Services and programs in the blindness system are usually explained as either rehabilitation programs or educational programs.
Many blind youths and children are educated in local and neighborhood schools, where visually impaired students are to be “mainstreamed.” Those want to enter such special-education programs can contact to the local education agency (LEA), which usually named as the Board of Education in the United States. American educational and inclusion programs for blind children who take place accommodation in residential schools. Some of these schools in the United States are parts of governments of their respective state; while others work regionally or locally and are working under the nonprofit associations.
There are no universities or colleges particularly selected for visually impaired or blind students, but in these universities or colleges campuses, the offices for disabled students have been established by the agencies that are providing amenities and services helpful to those who are visually impaired or blind. Working-age adults and older people can find that rehabilitation and education services within the blindness system of United States fall into two major classes: governmental agencies and nonprofit sector.
To respond to concerns that program for some visually impaired or blind students were not appropriate to explain their unique learning and educational needs, especially their needs for instruction in writing, reading, and composition, in addition to the mobility and orientation and their self-help skills, policy direction on educating visually impaired or blind students was issued by Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) memorandum 96-4. This policy direction provided some information concerning to the background to these students, and their explicit and different needs were explained.
Moreover, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a United States law on the federal basis that regulates how public agencies and states provide special education, early intervention, and the services related to children with disabilities. In the re-authorization of this law Congress explained the responsibilities of public agencies in educating visually impaired and blind students in two significant respects. Particularly, the statute of reauthorization presents that Individualized Education Program (IEP) teams in the schools and agencies are required to make a stipulation for instruction in braille and the practice of braille for visually impaired and blind students based on attached to the evaluations, the IEP team identifies that braille instruction or the exercise of braille is not apposite.
In the United States, the public agencies in each state must confirm that a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) program is available to all visually impaired children residing in the State in defined ranges of age. FAPE program involves education for special children, and related services are offered freely to the parents, under public direction and supervision that accomplish the standards of State education and comprise on appropriate elementary, preschool or secondary school programs in the State concerned, and are offered in agreement with an individualized education program (IEP) program requirement.
The IDEA program continues to acknowledge the significance of technology in the disable children education, and indicate technology as one of the particular features that the teams of IEP must consider in the development of IEP. Concerns connected to access the information that usually arises in the education visually impaired or of blind students. Thus, it is particularly significant that the teams of IEP for students who visually provide an appropriate focus to the needs of students for technology and the complete range of technology programs and devices that are accessible, and this factor needs to happen as early as possible.
The Vision Impairment Inclusion Program in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
In the last decade, unlike the United States the practice of the special-education program for students with visual impairment and other disabilities in Saudi Arabia has enhanced to help them in obtaining education of high-quality, accommodation and placement in the least restrictive environment (LRE). Despite this effort to improve the inclusion programs, more is required to get better these programs further.
As an inclusion program the Legislation of Disability (LD) was passed in 1987 as the first law for people with visual impairment and other disabilities in Saudi Arabia, while in the United States, the special-education programs were devised far before this period. However, The LD involves significant provisions that ensure children with visual impairment have equal rights like other people in the society. This program also consists on the number of articles that explain disabilities and explain programs for intervention and prevention and processes of assessment and analysis to identify the eligibility for special-education services of other disable and visually impaired children. Finally, LD requires that public agencies must provide rehabilitation services and training programs that support independent living.
In this regard, the government of Saudi Arabia the Disability Code in 2000 to ensure that people with visual impairment and other disabilities has access to free and proper psychological, medical, rehabilitation, social and educational services with the help of public agencies. This program further needs these public agencies to help eligible students in areas involving habilitation, welfare, health, training, education, rehabilitation, employment and other complementary services.
In addition to this, the government of KSA provides Regulations of Special Education Programs and Institutes (RSEPI). This program was presented to further build-up the procedures of special education for students with disabilities in Saudi Arabia. The government of KSA also has a system that reviewed the special-education policies of United States with Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) in 1990.
Through these program students with partial visual impairment and other partial disabilities get their educations in mainstream classrooms with some assistance with special service such as source rooms like in the United States. These impaired students, unlike in United States, also completely involve in the basic education curriculum with some amendments and accommodations. Students with partial and moderate visual impaired disabilities still obtain their education in individual classrooms in the same public schools. They usually share their some time with their typically growing peers in non-curricular activities, for instance, in lunch or recess. Clearly, this practice has not been exercised in the United States.
The schools in Saudi Arabia present special-education curriculum for visually impaired students, which is diverse from the basic curriculum, provided their normally developing students. Students with partial impairment attend elementary public schools from the age of 6 years to 14 years, and then the children enter to middle public school until the age of 18 years. Unluckily, after the completion of their education from middle and elementary schools, most of them have no option to attend any additional education apart from some vocational training agencies. The main goal of these agencies is to present these visually impaired students with vocational skills concerning to the training and employment that assist independent living. Therefore, these establishments have become challenged to teach students in basic education settings.
The Ministry of Education in Saudi Arabia revealed that, 45% visually impaired students out of 96% students with severe and multiple disabilities obtained their education in individual institutes. These students are usually educated in separate settings that do not permit them to work together with their classically developing students in inclusion establishments where they could enhance communication, social and academic skills. These schools provide accommodation, financial aid, food, and help to students with partial or severe disabilities. The students live at school in the whole week and go back to home merely on the weekends. Unlike in the United States, the parents usually are not permitted to come to the school daily and accompany their visually impaired children because of the distance between homes and the schools.
Further, in the Saudi Arabia, an essential issue is that students with visual impairment in these public schools get Individual Education Programs (IEPs) that are amended from the perspective of special-education curriculum and devised by the Ministry of Education. Unlike in the United States, the IEPs in Saudi Arabia usually do not fulfill their individual and unique needs; as an alternative these visually impaired students receive IEPs based upon the basic curriculum.
In the Saudi Arabia private schools do not have the related services for visually impaired students such as physical therapies, occupational therapies, and language and speech pathologies that might enable these disable students to gain more advantages from their IEPs and improve physical, communication, and other skills. Some public institutes in Saudi Arabia provide a number of related services for such students who are visually impaired. The method that such disabled students obtain their educations in separated settings that do not understand their rights and requirements to be considered like other students. Separating the students with this disability from other normal students does not make it possible for those students to properly obtain social skills.
The teachers in Saudi Arabia like in the United States are important in determining the inclusion of students in general classrooms. Thus, many studies concentrate on the role that teachers can perform in improving the successful students’ inclusion. When teachers are supportive in decision of inclusion, they are keen to provide their support in their practices. It has been believed that the perceptions of teachers are central to the effective realization of the inclusive educational program for students with visual impairment. In addition, one of the significant cases required for the effective inclusion of students with visual impairment is the positive perception of staff members in the school who spent time with these children.
On the other side, the negative perspective of these teachers can be the major factor that delays the inclusion process of students with visual impairment in regular programs of education. There are number of factors, for instance, the extent of the student’s disability that influences the teachers’ perspective. It has been found that physical therapist favor to live with students with partial disabilities instead of living students with acute disabilities. Although the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia stressed the significance of exploring the perceptions of teachers in devising the programs, thus it is quite difficult to determine if these viewpoints are similar in the United States where different teachers’ perception and cultural differences with Western contexts exist. It is significant to think about the society values and how they influence the public perceptions of students with visual impairment. In short, special and different educational requirements of visually impaired students cannot be accomplished in one environment, even with funding of unlimited nature. It is crucial that a team approach be used in determining and accomplishing these requirements and that the team must consist on the staff who has particular expertise in teaching students with visual impairments.
Admission Criteria for Visually Impaired and Disable People:
The following is the identified criteria set for the Admission requirement in KSA:
The Proof of the Disability must be shown by a Medical report which will ensure that the student is visually impaired. The Degree of the Intelligence must be less than seventy five degrees towards the Wechsler test or it can be less than seventy three degrees of the Stanford Binet testing.
The First Grade Admission will only be available to students between the Age of six and fifteen years. The student must be diagnosed before by a Diagnostic team.
The students will be transferred to special education from Public Education, if they were meeting the criteria of Admission or if they have the required Abilities according to the Grade they were appointed.
Text Books and Curriculum Activities: There are three stages set for the students at Public Education. The first is primary (6 years), second Intermediate Stage (3 years), and the last High School (3 years). In these stages books relating to Arabic Language and Forensic science were assigned in the syllabus. In addition to these books chapters relating to Braille printing, Graphic outputs and Disable properties will also be taught. The students in the first grade were taught to Read and write in Braille. Averages of two classes are conducted in a week in which they are trained to sense the direction. The Middle school students are taught Islamic art subjects along with some technical education that are mentioned in the Articles for blind.
Vision Impairment Programs in USA and KSA Compared: Both the USA and KSA have started taking measures in order to preserve the rights of Blind and visually impaired people. In USA an Act was passed named as The Landmark Americans Disabilities (ADA) in 1990, under which the Discrimination was prohibited between Able and Disable employees in their Employment. It also announced to provide other facilities to these people such as commercial, transportation, public and local government services. The other Laws passed under this Act were basically the Addition of Rehabilitation Act passed on 1973. Under the Amendment of Telecommunication in 1996, legal services and protection was provided to them. Two more acts were passed during this year for Handicapped named as Voting Accessibility and Air Access Carrier act. In Additional to these services Income and Health support was also provided to visually impaired persons through Security and Insurance programs. Support was also provided by Medicare and Medicaid.
The Principles mentioned in the legislation regarding the Disabilities Act in USA focuses towards Employment, Education, Rehabilitation and Civil Rights.
The objective of the Educational Authorities Management in KSA is to consolidate the cities and villages students in dormitories, in order to fulfill the educational requirements and maximize the value and skills deployed by these students during their school timings. They also aim to provide Quality education in the field of Psychological and social welfare, this can be easily achieved by reducing the student’s strength under Housing programs.
Conclusion: Although there are numerous similarities within the educational programs for the visually impaired in both USA and Kingdom of Saudi Arabi (KSA), yet there are major differences that separate the two systems. Firstly, there is a lack of legislation in KSA, which is entirely opposite to the situation in USA where various acts, laws and regulatory authorities have been set up to look over and regulate the vision impairment programs and look after their rights.
In the USA there are strict procedures as regards to the provision of educational programs for visually impaired persons. There are proper schools, specialized centers as well as socializing points. However, the KSA does not have such strict measures and it profound legislation in this area does not exist.
Visually impaired students are also given more advantage in the USA, whereby they are offered various special discounts, state provided accessories, and a vast exposure by being offered special quota in jobs in different companies, most preferably the jobs in public corporations.
Although, the Saudi Arabian government does not discourage the visually impaired to do work, yet no separate job vacancies are available for visually impaired students and there are no specific quota for them.
The existence of social security measures and unemployment benefits is the main reason behind the prosperity of visually impaired students in USA. Even though, these types of students are not less advantaged in the KSA, yet they do not have sufficient legislations to support their rights.
AFB. (2011). Educating Students With Visual Impairments for Inclusion in Society. A Journal Retrieved from American Foundation for the Blind (AFB), http://www.afb.org.
EADSN. (2010). Early Childhood Intervention: Analysis of Situations in Europe. European Agency for Development in Special Needs (EADSN).
Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Washington, DC. (2010). About Saudi Arabia. Retrieved from Royal Embassy website: http://www.saudiembassy.net/about/country-information/default.aspx.
Prince Salman Center for Disability Research. (2004). Kingdom of Saudi Arabia provision code for persons with disabilities. Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: Prince Salman Center for Disability Research.
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