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Dr. Marilyn Friend is a leading expert in inclusive education for students with disabilities. By answering questions about special education today, she addresses what it takes to make it work, the importance of collaboration, and how to help administrators support inclusion and socialization of all children.
The legalities of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) have promoted inclusion and accountability in education to enhance learning schoolwide. The authors describe a collaborative model, tested at nine schools, which helps integrate general and special education by six guiding principles.
Appropriate assessment can maximize learning for students with special needs in inclusion classrooms. Individualized education programs (IEPs) should include alternate strategies for assessing learners with disabilities. The authors give examples of creative ways for special and general education collaboration in school progress reports.
The author tells how and why physical education boosts self-esteem in students with health, developmental, and multiple disabilities. Creative adaptations can make inclusion possible in team sports. Conversion stategies allow IEP goals to be achieved with the assistance of peer or parent volunteers.
Preschoolers with Learning Disabilities (LD) can be assessed in early childhood. Strategies for LD identification are given in this article as well as suggestions for teachers. Early intervention makes IEPs, inclusion, and socialization easier in elementary school.
Music is valuable in early childhood education because it speaks to the emotions. It helps children with special needs relax and make the transition from special class to inclusion class. It also organizes brain activity and enhances perception, speech, socialization, and creativity.
Early childhood is an opportune time to socialize more appropriate behaviors in students with emotional and behavioral disorders in inclusion classrooms. Philip and Nancy Hall illustrate conflict resolution without punishment. They recommend gentle intervention, bonding, support, and targeted instruction for at-risk students.
Studies of adults who are successful and learning disabled show past supportive elementary education. Scaffolded instruction, as described in this article, fosters independence, provides support, and leads to success. Assessment of the needs of the learner and engagement, goals, feedback, and generalization are illustrated.
Students with learning disabilities may be brilliant (eg. Einstein, Edison) but their specialized minds may earn disappointing school grades. Dr. Levine reviews variations in brain development and reasons why schools are ill-equipped to support learning in diverse minds. He suggests different assessments, curriculum, and teacher preparation for the future.
Students with learning disabilites benefit from a spelling rubric, which teaches complex cognitive, linguistic aspects of the task, rather than using rote memorization. The author reviews LD literature and explains how rubrics are used both to assess and teach writing skills to elementary, middle, and high school students.
Students with learning disabilities often suffer low self-esteem. Middle and high school programs which teach social skills can improve their conflict resolution and confidence in groups. Assessments by parents reflect more family involvement after social skills training. Teachers in inclusion classrooms should also help students with LD form friendships with other students.
Students with limited English proficiency should not be labeled language impaired or learning disabled unless they are significantly disabled in their first language as well. Family involvement and multi-disciplinary collaboration are vital. Cultural diversity and alternative assessment procedures must be heeded.
Drs. Gerber and Klein, speech-language pathologists, address many issues involved in communication and reading skills: articulation, phonetic awareness, decoding, hearing the sounds of speech, and discriminating defective production of sounds. A two-stage program with assessment and remediation is described.
The autistic spectrum disorders (ASD) have spiked tenfold in 20 years. Attempts are being made to assess ASDs in early childhood and provide more appropriate family involvement and therapy. This article explains current knowledge about brain development, early signs of ASDs, and new treatments and trends. Early treatment may be able to improve cognition and social skills.
Public law 107-110 (No Child Left Behind Act) of 2001 requires alternative assessments for students with developmental disabilities. High school service-learning projects provide excellent vehicles for assessing language, reading, math, science and other skills. Family involvement and peer tutoring in the service-learning projects provides benefits for those with and without disabilities.
Children with developmental disabilities or autism often have atypical language processes and speech. Their skills and strengths are missed if they are assessed as inscrutable. This article gives competence-oriented strategies to find meanings in both emotions and behaviors. Supporting such students aids in their socialization, self-esteem, and creativity.
Severe emotional and behavioral disorders are difficult to assess. They are often treated with both drugs and behavioral therapy. Parent participation and collaboration with teachers are essential. Social skills training is also helpful, especially for conflict resolution. This article describes the more common psychiatric disorders with symptoms and psychopharmacological treatments.
Teaching culturally diverse students with emotional and behavioral disorders—arrested for assaults, selling drugs, and other crimes—is not easy. Lynn Olcott is an inspiration for all teachers. She not only taught GED (general education) to jailed adolescent women, but also taught self-advocacy. Her instruction succeeded!
Helping students with emotional and behavioral disorders requires self-awareness. Good natured humor helps in conflict resolution. Making a difference for even one child is important. This article identifies questions and strategies to help teachers become more self-aware regarding their interactions with difficult students.
Educators have all experienced children with chronic emotional and behavioral disorders. This article suggests exploring the ABCs of difficulties (antecedents, behaviors, consequences). The authors give many suggestions for prevention of behaviors. Teaching the child alternatives can bring much conflict resolution and improved socialization.
In 50 years, individuals with hearing impairments have made amazing progress: acceptance of ASL as a language, bilingual-bicultural communication, legal mandates for individualized education transition and employment, mental health services, technology in audiology and telecommunications, and medical reductions in deafness. Educators still have a long way to go.
This article describes tactile strategies to support instruction of students who have multiple disabilities and visual impairments. Teachers need creative ways to bypass tactile defensiveness. Collaboration with specialists, family, and peer-tutors can provide ideas. Plans for teaching the use of touch should be written into individualized education programs in schools.
Students with multiple disabilities, often mainstreamed only for socialization activities in public schools, can benefit from inclusion in instruction as well. The Cascade of Integration Options, described in this article, explains how. Collaboration and careful IEP planning are essential. Different goals will be set for the individual with severe disabilities.
Students with multiple disabilities often become dependent on others to make decisions for them. Choice-making is a fundamental human right which can be afforded to even those with severe disabilities. Alison Stafford explains how to assess preferences and student response models. This choice-making ability benefits family, school, and student.
Students with mental retardation and multiple disabilites often find language especially problematic. Their individualized education programs (IEPs) focus on functional communication. This article describes realistic goals such as gestures, augmentative technology, sign language, and interpretation of vocalizations and sounds.
There is new hope for some orthopedic and health impairments which in the recent past were incurable. Genetic understanding, family advocacy, and advanced therapies are working miracles. Elizabeth Weill describes progress made in chromosome syndromes, progeria, and ataxia-telangiectasia (A-T). Computers and biotechnology, plus a refusal to give up, have made this possible.
Legal processes mandate accommodations for students with disabilities (such as 504 plans), even if they do not require individualized education plans (IEPs) and special education. This article explains what kinds of accommodations are appropriate, where to have them, when, who decides, and why.
The assessment of attention-deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) as a health impairment, learning disability, or emotional/behavioral disorder has been criticized. Using the drug Ritalin is condemned for making boys like girls and reducing creativity. This article argues that ADHD is a real brain disorder. Ritalin helps students wherever they are in school; elementary, middle, or high school.
Medications help many students with orthopedic and health impairments, such as attention deficit hyperactive disorder and Asperger Syndrome (an autistic spectrum disorder). Physicians find it hard to know how much and what, to prescribe. Collaboration between parents, school, and specialists is essential. Behavior therapy can reduce medication dosages.
Gifted children need early childhood enrichment. Their language proficiency is an assessment “heads-up.” While they benefit from socialization in mixed-ability groups, peer tutoring, used excessively, leads to problems. Their self-esteem is enhanced by challenging them in their area of creativity and allowing self-acceleration.
A precociousness in reading, called hyperlexia, has been assessed with technology called functional magnetic resonance imaging (FMRI). This reveals brain development with intense activity in the superior temporal cortex. Other special gifts and talents, and learning disorders, may soon be better understood using FMRI.
Students who are gifted may also be students with learning disabilities. Assessment typically focuses on their deficits rather than their gifts. Their self-esteem suffers when they are given praise for easy, unchallenging work. Inclusion classes need differentiation, more assistance in deficiency areas, and compacted learning with challenges in strength areas. Many ideas for empowering twice-exceptional students are offered in this article.
The legal processes of IDEA mandate transition supports for students with disabilites. This article focuses on the needs of students with severe disabilities as they move from elementary to middle school. Several strategies are presented to assist students and their families, including a timeline, nine practical steps, and recommended resources.
The transition from middle to high school requires adjusting to a larger school size, new social interactions, and different academic demands at a time when adolescents are also dealing with puberty and identity issues. This is problematic for students with learning disabilities and other exceptionalities. They need more support from teachers and peers. Extra curricular activity involvement makes moving easier.
Negotiating the transition from high school to college when special services for learning disabilities are required can be tricky. Not all colleges provide the same support. IDEA mandates support services until age 21, and the ADA requires equal access for Americans with Disabilities at all ages. This article reviews the legal requirements of students and colleges.