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Free «Special Education» Essay Sample

Introduction

For a long time in the history of most countries, various institutions of learning were granted the liberty to exclude certain children, particularly those with varying disabilities. In the earlier years before the nineteenth century, superstition drove the handling of individuals with disabilities. Most infants who were born with these conditions were abandoned and left to die in the wilderness. Practices such as witch-hunts and exorcisms were carried out to bring to conclusion such challenges in family (Thomas & Loxley, 2007).  

The objective of this paper is to discuss various aspects of special education and its significance to persons with special needs.          

Special education is a program organized and coordinated to educate personalities with special needs in a formula that addresses their differences and demands. This program involves separately designed and methodically organized procedures of teaching, adapted tools of learning, and various other interventions created to assist the individuals with special needs attain personal success in school and even outside, than they would possibly do in a typical learning environment. Some of these special needs include physical and mental challenges, development disorders, and communication and learning difficulties. These kinds of students can also benefit from other strategies such as the use of technology (Kauffman & Hallahan, 2005).

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This paper will look at various provision methods that institutions can adopt to address special needs of persons with disabilities;

Body

Various institutions employ different strategies to offer special education services to the relevant persons. The strategies can be characterized into various key groups depending on how much contact can be witnessed between the instructor without special needs and the student with special needs (Sacks, 2001). The categories are:

  • Mainstreaming: This strategy involves incorporation of students with special needs into a typical class where they can study together with their fellow non-challenged students during specific times depending on their skills. Likewise, at certain periods of the day, the students with special needs are objectively separated from the others to acquire certain special skills.
  • Inclusion: in this strategy, the needy students are combined with the other students without special needs for an entire day or at least not less than half a day. Since the strategy might require considerable modification of the entire curricula, most institutions apply this strategy only for selected persons with minor to moderate special needs. Specialized services are often offered within or outside the ordinary classroom, based on the kind of service being provided. The students sporadically move away from the typical classroom to smaller, more exhaustive instructional meetings in a resource room. At times they move away to acquire other correlated services that may demand specialized tools or that may interrupt the rest of the class.
  • Segregation: in this model, students with special needs are exclusively separated from those with non-special needs. A special classroom or institution is set up and designed specifically to meet the special needs of these students. The students may probably share a similar institution with the other regular students, however, a separate classroom is provided for them where they are able to sit for their special instructional sessions. The advantage of such an event whereby, these students share a similar institution with regular students but different classrooms, opportunities are usually provided for social integration within the school but outside the classroom e.g. sharing a dining block.
  • Exclusive: in this approach, students with challenges that deny them the capacity to fit in regular schools are usually excluded completely. This is what often happened historically in most parts of the world. This incident may also still be witnessed in a few developing countries where there is no legal structure protecting the educational rights of these group of people. It is also common in instances where a person is bedridden, or confined by the justice systems.

The development of special education in the United States

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Like many other nations, for most of America’s history, various institutions of learning were granted the liberty to exclude certain children, particularly those with varying disabilities. Superstition drove the handling of individuals with disabilities. Most infants who were born with these conditions were abandoned and left to die in the wilderness, and practices such as witch- exorcisms were carried out to bring to conclusion such challenges in family (Merritt, Beaudin, & Sells, 2000). Advocates for the rights of this group of people were insufficient. Spanish monk Ponce de Leon was one of the few who championed this course, and was able to train deaf persons to communicate in the sixteenth century (Winzer, 1993).

Special institutions and schools

In the nineteenth century, the first institutions for people with special needs were constructed in both the US and Europe. However, two conflicting goals were achieved. This was to offer humane treatment and to exclude these persons from the general society (Weatherley & Lipsky, 2012). The first residential school for the deaf was set up in 1817, and the Perkins Institute for the Blind, which was the first of a kind, was set up in 1832. Howe, who founded the school for the blind also advocated for enough public funding to facilitate the education and treatment of these special group of people. Two years after the school for the blind was set up, Louis Braille, a French educator, designed a system of reading and writing for the blind that is still applied today. An institution for the intellectually retarded later followed in 1837, and was based in Paris. It was established by a French educator going by the name of Eduardo Seguin. He later also assisted in establishing the first residential facility a similar group persons with special needs in the United States, seventeen years later. Towards the end of the twentieth century, Alexander Bell advocated for the establishment of public school annexes for the training of persons with various special needs. Increasingly, more public schools started embracing this group of students.

Growing awareness of special needs

As from the mid 20th century, there has been growing development with regards to special education in America. A number of court decisions and legislative laws have been amended and passed to protect the rights of those with disabilities. This has ensured that all children get access to public education irrespective of his/her challenges. One of the most notable success stories was the passing of the Fourteenth Amendment, whose goal was to secure the rights of all people irrespective of color, creed, and condition. According to Friend (2010), “the concept of Learning disabilities emerged as an explanation of school failure as opposed to mental retardation.”

 
 
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Assessment and evaluation

In the educational field, whether addressing the needs of regular or special education student, assessment and evaluation has to focus on sic fundamental issues i.e. a students capacity to learn, achievement, particular learning challenges, giftedness, innovativeness, and socio-emotional adjustments. Any individual adjustment is a depiction of greater picture (Zigmond, 1995).

Formal and informal assessment

The first involves a test of intellectual capability; achievement examination; determination of particular abilities e.g. language skills and adaptive behavior. On the other hand, informal assessment involves systematic observation, interviews, and work sample analysis.

Functional behavior assessment

This was designed from the field of educational psychology. It is a specific process whereby the roots of a behavioral adaptation are established first before an intervention is developed. This makes the process more functional. To assess the roots of a behavioral adaptation before carrying out an analysis and interviewing a person, an individual applies functional assessment techniques such as observation and observations.

Learning potential assessment

The objective of carrying out conventional intelligence tests is to offer a measure representing steady characteristics of a person they may serve within rational limits, as a dependable predictor of future performance.

Conclusion

In conclusion, special education can be defined as a program organized and coordinated to educate personalities with special needs in a formula that addresses their differences and demands. The special needs include physical and mental challenges, development disorders, and communication and learning difficulties. Some of the strategies that can be employed to offer special education services to this group of persons include the inclusion, mainstreaming, segregation, and exclusion strategy.

For a long time in the history of most countries, persons with varying disabilities were agonizingly segregated in the society. Superstition devastatingly inspired the way in which individuals with disabilities were handled in the society. Innocent infants who were born with these conditions were abandoned and left to die in the wilderness, and practices such as witch-hunts and exorcisms were ignorantly relied upon to bring to an end such challenges in the family. In most countries including the United States, these group of people were excluded from institutions of learning. The development of special education in the United States can be traced back to the nineteenth century. It was in this era that the first institutions training strategies and equipments were first established. And ever since, significant change has been witnessed to a point where this group of persons can access most services equally without discrimination.

   

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