The education of students who have emotional and behavioral disorders, physical disabilities, health impairments, or traumatic brain injuries can be a difficult and challenging task if proper teaching strategies are not put in place. It is also important to for these students to gain self-advocacy skills and for teachers to teach the other students understanding, respect, and how to respond appropriately to the students with disabilities in their class. Another important aspect of the education of special needs students is an individual education plan (IEP).
It is important to understand each individual disability before a teacher can properly determine the best teaching strategies. The education of students with emotional behavioral disorders is interfered because of an inability to build and maintain relationships with peers or teachers, an inability to learn, exhibiting inappropriate behavior and feelings, constant unhappiness or depression, and unreasonable fears about school (Clayton County Schools Special Education Department, 2012).
Emotional behavior disorders in children are caused by environment, heredity, or both (Anjeh, D. , 2007). The education of students with physical disabilities is also more difficult. Physical disabilities are broad categories that include many conditions such as muscular dystrophy, missing limbs, spina-bifida, and cerebral palsy. There are many different causes of physical disabilities. Physical disabilities make it hard for children to more around and to control their voluntary motor movements (Anjeh, D. , 2007).
Health impairments also cause issues related to a student’s education. Health impairments can limit a student’s alertness, vitality, and strength. Often health impairments cause a student to have extended absences, inability to attend a full academic schedule and/or inability to attend to tasks for the same length of time as peers (Clayton County Schools Special Education Department, 2012) A traumatic brain injury can also affect a student’s educational performance. A traumatic brain injury is an injury to the brain caused by an external physical force.
These types of injuries can cause impairments of judgment, problem solving, sensory, motor ability, memory, cognition, thinking, physical functions, and speech (National Association of Special Education Teachers, 2006/2007). The most common cause of traumatic brain injuries are caused by motor vehicle or bicycle accidents. Other causes include being shaken, falling, sports related injuries, and gunshots. Traumatic brain injuries can cause physical, cognitive, and/or psychosocial-behavioral/emotional impairments (Anjeh, D. , 2007). Teachers can try many different strategies to help students with the above disabilities.
These strategies are often beneficial for the regular student as well. Lash (2000) suggests that to help a student to concentrate better or pay attention a teacher can reduce distractions in the work area of a student, divide the student’s work into smaller sections, having students summarize the teacher’s instruction, and using verbal or non-verbal cues. Because short term memory is often affected by a traumatic brain injury a teacher can repeat or summarize the information needed frequently. The teacher can also encourage the student to use note cards, calendars, or planners.
The use of mnemonics may also be helpful to the student. A teacher could provide students with traumatic brain injuries additional time, checklists, schedules, outlines, and other organizational materials. When teaching students with emotional and behavioral disorders the teacher must remain sensitive to these student’s issues. First the teacher must identify the behavior and its cause. Lewis, Heflin, & DiGangi (1991) found that the best approach is to pinpoint the specific behavioral problem and apply data-based instruction for remediation.
Remediation should include encouraging new behavior in place of the bad behavior and using positive reinforcement (Algozine, Ruhl, & Ramsey, 1991). Extra training in social skills is also important. Teaching strategies for the physically impairment deal with the provision of certain accommodations and making learning as well as the learning environment accessible. Some strategies include giving the student extra time, reducing the amount of furniture in a classroom, and training staff on the health care needs of the student.
The removal of physical barriers, elimination of social barriers, participation in extracurricular activities, inclusion in sports and leisure time activities are all strategies teachers can use with students with disabilities. Some students may require many visuals while other may require added audio. To improve a disabled students self-esteem and self-advocacy the student should be allowed to assume responsibility for their own learning which will improve their self-concept, feeling of belonging to the school, and success at school.
A focus should be placed on teaching the student the skills necessary for taking responsibility and showing initiative in making decisions about their own instruction. It is also important for the teacher to help the disabled student’s peers to understand, accept, and include their peers with disabilities (CSWD, 2002). Inclusive classrooms can be helpful because they enable disabled and nondisabled students to discover the similarities they share and to accept each other’s unique traits that they have (Kliff & Kunc, 1994).
As school communities become increasingly diverse, it is more important than ever that teachers, administrators, parents, and students work together to create a tolerant school climate where each student feels safe and valued. IEP meetings are an important part of a disabled student’s educational process. Present at the meeting were the student’s father, the special educational teacher, and a member of the staff that is responsible for any financial related issues that may come into play. The meeting began with a brief introduction and signing of an intake sheet.
The special education teacher reviewed the child’s present academic levels and discussed reading comprehension and fluency improvements. A copy of all testing scores was provided to those present. The father discussed worries that his child is shy and the need for social skill training. Moving the child to an inclusive classroom was discussed but it was decided to wait for this transition for the beginning of the next school year due to the child’s need for routines. Lastly it was determined there would be a short meeting scheduled for the end of the school year to determine classroom placement for the following school year.
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