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Introduction to Special Education Essay

* students with exceptionalities exhibit differences in learning and behaviour that significantly affect their educational potential – they have exceptional needs that cannot be met by typical approaches to schooling * special education is constructed and delivered to suit the specific strengths and needs of students with exceptionalities The Modern History Of Special Education.

* special types of educational services provided as far back as the 18th century * modern era of special education began in the 1960s during the civil rights movement (rejected existing practices of separately educating students who were different) * early forms of special education designed to reduce perceived threats to normal students History Of Special Education (Legislation Affecting Special Education) * some Canadian provinces enacted special education legislation as early as 1969 * 1975 – ground breaking legislation in U. S. Education for All Handicapped Children Act.

* least restrictive environment * individualized education program (IEP) * categories of exceptionality * 1978 – Javits Gifted & Talented Students Act brought number of identifiable categories to eleven * 1990 – Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) added traumatic brain injury and autism to create the thirteen categories used today * IDEA – “children with disabilities” instead of “disabled children” The No Child Left Behind Act: signed into law in 2002 * addresses four critical concerns.

* accountability of educators for student academic achievement * flexibility of specialized funding implementation to maximize student achievement * option for parents to change child’s school if achievement is not at expected level * use of scientifically proven methods to have all children reading by end of grade three Is NCLB Making a Difference? Criticisms: * students with exceptionalities not exempt from district-wide or state-wide yearly achievement tests (law recently changed – flexibility option) * lack of available funding.

* more emphasis placed on math and reading at the expense of other curricular topics To date, NCLB legislation has not significantly affected special education practices in Canada. How Is Special Education In Canada And The United States Similar? * basic practices follow the same conceptual models * major difference is way it is governed * U. S. operates under federally-mandated laws * each Canadian province and territory has own education legislation * most relevant federal law in Canada is Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms Prevalence Of Students With Exceptionalities

* vast majority of classrooms now include students with exceptionalities * statistics difficult to acquire in Canada * U. S. Department of Education (2002) * 8. 8% of all students have exceptionalities * 85% of these have mild disabilities * twice as many males as females Inclusionary Practices * until the mid 1980s, special education services delivered wholly or partially separated from regular classrooms * all Canadian provinces have currently adopted philosophy of inclusion.

* students with exceptionalities are provided with appropriate educational programming in appropriate environments * regular classroom is first placement option * Inclusionary Practices * inclusion better than integration or mainstreaming because it does not try to “fix the child” to suit the system * inclusion does not replace the term special education because it does not provide specific definitions for implementation * educators support inclusion but are concerned about its lack of procedures for implementation Non-Categorical Model.

* data-based approach to instructional planning * does not rely on specific labels * proponents feel that labels frequently stigmatize, isolate, and stereotype individuals with exceptionalities * more concerned with functional educational services than outcomes of assessments Categorical Model * students’ needs and abilities are defined and then identified, classified, and categorized * most widely used and accepted approach.

* allows educators to design effective educational interventions without over-generalizing the characteristics of specific categories to any one child * textbook emphasizes categorical model * teachers need to know the criteria used to identify students with exceptionalities and how the criteria varies across categories * allows teachers to readily notice problems that children may be having * eliminates confusion and frustration when teaching students with exceptionalities.


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