The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) has granted that placement options be available to better meet the needs of students. (Classroom Leadership, 2001) To better meet these requirements, educators have strived to make every effort to place students with and without disabilities in environments where they can learn, grow, and be successful. Each student is placed according to their individual needs, abilities, qualities, and level of services needed. Placing students in their correct environment is essential for obtaining a quality education. Today, there are many resourceful classrooms that are aimed at the specific abilities and disabilities of students. In these types of classrooms, students are better equipped to get the help they need. There are also related services within the school and the community that are aimed at offering support to families with disabilities. When students are placed in the correct environments, teachers can strategically help connect students and their families to these resources, and also integrate assistive technologies into the curriculum to support student learning abilities. When it comes to effectively placing student’s collaboration is key to assessing the type of environment that is presumed to be best for students. Educational environments affect teaching and learning, therefore the classroom environment must be designed to support the individual needs of students.
A few types of classroom environments used in K-12 education include inclusion, self-contained, and resource rooms. The inclusion model allows students to participate in regular educational settings, and receive supported help by the inclusion teacher therein. The inclusion model is essential for increasing social networking skills, developing behavior and academic skills through peer role-modeling, improving student achievement of IEP goals, and helping students acquire skills with the general education curriculum. The inclusion model is great for students who have mild learning disabilities, and those who are progressing consistently to a degree, where little or no help is needed. Based off of the student’s unique needs, the inclusion model is a great teaching environment, along with the self-contained education environment. In the self-contained classroom environment, students with disabilities are granted the ability to receive much more one-on-one help given their unique disabilities. In this type of setting, educators receive additional specialized training to be able to aid students in making learning a success for students with disabilities, who are not able to participate in regular educational classroom settings.
Students who learn at a slower pace, as a result of a learning disability, or uses modifications to lessons to acquire learning, a self-contained classroom may be beneficial. Nonetheless, resource educational environments may aide this same situation. In many cases, If a student is not mobile (using a wheelchair), have severe disabilities like severe cerebral palsy, it may be beneficial to the student to participate in a resource classroom environment. Resource classroom environments focus on the student’s direct disability based on their IEP. They are potentially designed to be smaller for students to be able to get the one-on-one help they need yet still experience the social interaction with peers. Given the types of educational settings that were previously discussed, in the case of Gabriel, a kindergartener who battles cerebral palsy and has limited mobility it is necessary to place Gabriel in a resource room, to receive exceptional academic training. Because, Gabriel is tub fed and has to use a diaper it is easier for instructors of a resource room to provide him his necessary needs, as they focus directly on the direct disability of students. Furthermore, it is concluded that Gabriel may not succeed in a regular educational setting, or a self-contained classroom setting because of his verbal inability.
Although, he is able to communicate through a few eye movements, it is not enough to gain the benefits of a self-contained classroom, a regular education classroom, even though inclusion models. It is the opinion of the author that Gabriel will better succeed in a resource room, where he will receive additional resources as physical therapy, to help him gain muscle strength to grasp things and even a speech therapist to help him gain control over his vocals. When it comes to exceptional education, there are many different related resources for students inside, and out of the school system. As for Gabriel, cerebral palsy or CP can mean life-long treatment. Generally, CP patients require 24-hour care. Therefore, in Gabriel’s case, eating, breathing, and moving freely can be a challenge especially when trying to live independently, or study independently in an inclusion classroom, or self-contained environment. For this reason, educators may want to consider other related services, or services to assist their students with severe disabilities. Although, student have disabilities educators are still required to utilize these related services in order to provide those students with the best education possible. Most services are available to children in the public school system.
While others can be accessed in the local community. However, there are related services abroad for students in public, private, early education and head start school systems. Related services, in the terms of the educational setting of choice, calls for the special education classroom to utilize resources as assistive technology devices like wheelchairs, much physical therapy, and speech and language pathology services. Individuals who work to develop speech abilities in students who have communication impairments can effectively provide treatment to students like Gabriel, by showing them how to communicate with others. Furthermore, it is also beneficial to provide students like Gabriel with a physical therapist, who can work through movement to help gain muscle control and movement. Nonetheless, teachers strive to develop independency in students of this type of educational setting, by providing assistive technology to encourage independent learning.
Assistive technology for advancing communication with nonverbal students is made possible through devices, such as the DynaVox. This device can also be used to assess students like Gabriel to ensure they are understanding simple communication skills. Given the student’s abilities, it is necessary for educators to plan lessons and activities using a student’s IEP goals as guidelines. Then, during instruction time use many visuals and demonstrations, and even prompt the students for feedback. Moreover, in situations like Gabriel’s it is essential to students to use the co-teaching model To conclude, each type of educational setting discussed have significant roles in providing exceptional educational outcomes for students with disabilities. Whether a student is receiving training through inclusive model learning, self-contained strategies, or resource models of learning students are capable of receiving exceptional learning abilities and skills to build off of. It is a given, that all types of educational settings has its pros and cons. However, it is believed that each type of environment has is benefits to support students in individual development.
Classroom Leadership (2001) Resource vs. Inclusion Classrooms; which is best for Students? Retrieved 8/17/14 from http://www.examiner.com/article/resource-vs-inclusion-classrooms-which-is-best-for-students Council for Exceptional Children, (2014). Special Education Professional Ethical Principles and Practice Standards. Retrieved from http://www.cec.sped.org/Standards/Ethical-Principles-and-Practice-Standards