What Is Special Education? Research Paper Example

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Research Paper

Introduction

Most of us are born with all body parts functioning normally. We are able to do our daily activities with ease, go any other school with ease, fit into the society well and work anywhere on anything. We have every reason to thank God for that. Now, do we ever sit back and think of the child who was unfortunate enough to be born with disability? Some children born blind, deaf, crippled, albino, or even insane, and they require special attention. Regardless of the disability, all these children have needs just as all of us do. They need to learn and be educated, they need to play, and they have dreams of becoming fulfilled people in the future. This project primarily focuses on the education of this child with special needs. Education is the focus as it is the determinant of attainment of basic needs (food, shelter, clothing, health needs) and with the potential to enrich one’s life. The future of the child with special needs relies on the education of the child. The social, spiritual ad mental growth of the child depends largely on the quality of education the child receives. This is why it is essential to study the education of the child with special needs.

Setting- where the problem exists

The problem of disability does not have an exact place of existence. Every one of us bound to disability. The probability of a child born disabled or not is a half, even though there are biological explanations and theories explaining the causes of disability. Every community has a child or an elderly person with a disability; thus, we could conclude that the problem of disability exists everywhere.

Background information about special education

With the increasing number of children diagnosed with physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral disabilities, a call was raised for action. This brought about the formation of the IDEA (Individual with Disabilities Education Act). This Act offers a “free and appropriate public education program” to children who have disabilities. It is the law that children with disabilities obtain appropriate education as their nondisabled peers. They are thus providing a suitable environment to suit the educational needs of the impaired children (Hoffer et al, 2011). The IDEA program came into action in 1975 to serve disabled children who previously either received minimal educational services or were denied schooling. The IDEA law, providing Education for All Handicapped Children brought in a tidal wave of change. It brought in similarities in learning in a variety of schools providing special education, which previously had significant variations between states.

By the fall of 2009, the U.S. Department of Education estimated that approximately 5.8 million children aged 6-21 received special education services. These services provided by the IDEA were highly valued thus; school aged disabled children benefited as much as the nondisabled did. The U.S. Department of Education noticed that about 61% of impaired children either have specific learning disabilities; or rather, they have language impairments. Out of the whole lot, only about 8 percent were diagnosed with substantial cognitive disabilities (Losen & Orfield, 2002, p.120). These include traumatic brain injury or mental retardation. More than 50% of all disabled students spend more than 80% of their time in regular classrooms. This raised concern of the academic qualification, the preparedness of the teacher and the total cost associated with provision of the special education.

To determine the needs of the children, the IDEA developed a system of testing the academic performance of disabled students. The law mandates that Individualized Education Programs, which are instructional road maps created for each disabled student. In fact, in 1997, the law reauthorized and special education students were required to participate in state tests. Upon successful completion of the tests, reports of the results publicized. However, most states did not comply with IDEA on the tests approach to test understanding. This idea rose up once again in 2001 where the No Child Left Behind Act formed (Hoffer et al, 2011). This law is so strong and influential in that the states enacted significantly. Now there are strategic approaches where the disabled children participate in core and extra-curriculum activities.

Where the project will take place

The project will take place at the Elizabeth Ives School for Special Children. This school provides educational programs to meet needs of students with EDs, LDs or multiple disabilities, ASD, neurological impairments, and mild intellectual disabilities speech/language disorders. Elizabeth Ives School for Special Children offers a comprehensive strengths-based behavior program, which teaches conflict resolution cooperation, social skills, collaborative problem solving (Losen & Orfield, 2002, p.100). It also offers self-discipline programs since many of impaired students have behavioral difficulties.

Elizabeth Ives School for Special Children has an environment that fosters the development of capability, and power to change outcomes. It works strategically to help students improve academic skills, increase concentration on the task, to improve behavior. They further to develop coping skills among the children with impairements and enable their decision-making skills.

This is not only enough, they also offer vocational and life-skills specialized programs. These are extremely important programs that enable children have opportunities to prepare for the future. The combination of academics skills, daily living skills, vocational activities, and socialization activities bring up a child, to appear, not as disabled, but as an important person in the society. Elizabeth Ives School for Special Children goes ahead to developing a community partnership program in which students practice classroom skills practically in the community setup.

Research problems investigated and the hypotheses tested

In the pilot survey carried out, certain items identified that forms the research problem. As much as the students obtain the special education in the manner proposed by the IDEA and the “No Child Left Behind Act”, how satisfied are the disabled children and their caretakers? It could also be ideal to do a follow up of the alumni of such schools. Was the gained education relevant, and has it helped them in their lives? Another issue is to find out whether the Elizabeth Ives School for Special Children is the best. If it were not the best, how would the concerned individuals like things changed or done? In general, the research problem will aim at finding out the customer satisfaction factors.

Conclusion

Special education is an extremely essential topic of investigation. The best thing one can ever do to a disabled child is to ensure best services for them. Make them forget their disabilities, and focus on living as if they were normal. Research and development will be crucial in the field of Special education.

References

Donovan, M., & Cross, C. (2002). Minority Students in Special and Gifted Education Committee on Minority Representation in Special Education. Washington D.C.: National Academy Press.

Hoffer, T.B., Hedberg, E. C., Brown, W., & Kevin, L. (2011). Final Report on the Evaluation of the Growth Model Pilot Project. Cengage Learning.

Losen, D., & Orfield, G. (2002). ‘Racial Inequity in Special EducationThe Civil Rights Project. Harvard Education Publishing Group.

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