This first chapter introduces you to an area of education that has greatly affected the lives of countless children in positive way. Together we will take a look at the radical change of thought that has taken place, not only in this country, but also in other parts of the world. This, in turn, has influenced our understanding of how we identify children who require special needs. Here you will see the unfolding scenario that greatly affects all of us as we are being introduced to various groups who are directly or indirectly associated with these children.
They include parents, educators, legislators, and even our leaders. But in the very central spotlight are the children who are exceptional or who need special services. As you become acquainted with new terminology, keep your focus on the major trends outlined, especially as these are interwoven into later chapters, as they highlight issues related to groups of children with specific needs or exceptionalities. Focusing Questions 1.
How have perspectives on treating individuals with special needs changed over time? 2.
What are the major forces that affect individuals with special needs development? 3. How have families been instrumental in obtaining services for individuals with special needs or exceptional children? 4. What trends show that individuals with special needs or exceptional individuals are becoming more integrated into society? Chapter Outline 1. Who are the individuals with special needs or exceptional children? 2. Characteristics of those with special needs or Exceptional Children 3. Identifying students with special needs 4.
Methods of educational provisions 5. Instructional strategies 6.
Changing perspectives on special needs children or exceptional children 7. Environmental influences on special needs children or exceptional individuals 8. Families of special needs children or exceptional children 9. The special needs children and the school 10. The special needs children in the society 11. Issues Related To The Special Needs Children 12. Inclusive Education in Malaysia: Country Report 1. Who Are the Exceptional Children or Children with Special Need 2.
Who Are the Exceptional Children or Children with Special Need Special education is the education of students with special needs or exceptional children in a way that addresses the students’ individual differences and needs. Ideally, this process involves the individually planned and systematically monitored arrangement of teaching procedures, adapted equipment and materials, accessible settings, and other interventions designed to help learners with special needs achieve a higher level of personal self-sufficiency and success in school and community.
Some of the common special needs of these children include: challenges with learning, communication challenges, emotional and behavioral disorders, physical disabilities, and developmental disorders. Special needs students benefit from additional educational services such as different approaches to teaching, use of technology, a specifically adapted teaching area, or resource room. We define a child with special needs or exceptional child as a child who differs from the average or normal child in 1) mental characteristics, 2) sensory abilities, 3) communication abilities, 4) behavior and emotional development, 4) children with multiple and severe handicapping conditions, or 5) physical characteristics.
These differences must occur to such an extent that in order to develop his or her unique capabilities, the child requires a modification of school practices, or special educational services. Perhaps the definition given is quite general. You might be asking: what is meant by average or normal? What is special education? How do we decide whether the child requires special education services or not? 2.
CHARACTERISTICS OF SPECIAL NEEDS OR EXCEPTIONAL CHILDREN 2. CHARACTERISTICS OF SPECIAL NEEDS OR EXCEPTIONAL CHILDREN Children are considered educationally exceptional only when it is necessary to alter the educational program. As an example, a child is considered exceptional if he or she is unable to read or to master learning in the traditional way; or a child becomes bored by what is being taught in the classroom because he or she is far ahead of others. The term exceptional child can mean different things in education, in psychology, or in other disciplines.
In education we usually group children of similar characteristics for instructional purposes. Some typical groupings are as follow: 1. Intellectual differences: This includes children who have high intellectual abilities as well as those who are slow to learner 2. Sensory differences: This includes children with auditory or visual impairments or disabilities 3. Communication differences: This includes children with learning disabilities, or speech and language disabilities 4. Behavior differences: This includes children who are emotionally disturbed or socially maladjusted.
5. Children with multiple and severe handicapping conditions: This includes children with combinations of impairments (for example – cerebral palsy and mental retardation; deafness and blindness) 6. Physical differences. This includes children with non-sensory disabilities that impede mobility and physical vitality When discussing a child as learner, we need to look at the complete portrait of the child itself, including the social and family context in which the child lives. These are the complex and unique forces which influence the child individuality.
Once we recognize this, it is easier to choose the most appropriate instructional strategies and the most suitable learning environment. 3. IDENTIFYING STUDENTS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS 3. IDENTIFYING STUDENTS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS Some children are easily identified as candidates for special needs from their medical history – diagnosed with a genetic condition that is associated with mental retardation, brain damage, developmental disorder, visual or hearing disabilities, or other disabilities. Less obvious identification are students with learning difficulties.
Two primary methods have been used for identifying them: i. discrepancy model – depends on the teacher noticing that the students’ achievements are noticeably below what is expected, and ii. response to intervention model – which advocates to earlier intervention. In the discrepancy model, a student receives special educational services for a specific learning difficulty (SLD) if the child has at least normal intelligence, and his academic achievement is below what is expected of with his or her intelligent quotient (IQ)..
The discrepancy model recently has been criticized among researchers because diagnosing SLDs on the basis of the discrepancy between achievement and IQ does not predict the effectiveness of treatment. Low academic achievers who also have low IQ appear to benefit from treatment just as much as low academic achievers who have normal or high intelligence. Therefore an alternative approach has been identified. This approach i. identifies children who are having difficulties in school in their first or second year after starting school. ii. provides problematic children with assistance such as participating in a reading remediation program.
iii. focuses on responses of these children on the intervention provided, then determines whether they are designated as having a learning disability. iv. ensures that those few who still have trouble may then receive designation and further assistance.
Many experts believe that i. early remediation can greatly reduce the number of children meeting diagnostic criteria for learning disabilities. ii. the focus on learning disabilities and the provision of accommodations in school fails to acknowledge that people have a range of strengths and weaknesses and iii.most parents and teachers place undue emphasis on academics In helping these children, their individual needs should be given a priority.
Some of the critical issues need to be taken into considerations are: i. Services for these children should be customized to address each individual student’s unique needs. ii. Special educators should provide a continuum of services, in which students with special needs receive services in varying degrees based on their individual needs iii. Programs need to be individualized so that they address the unique combination of needs in a given student iv.Educational professionals need to use Individualized Education Programs (IEP) when referring to a student’s need v.
They are being assessed for educational purposes i. e. to determine their specific strengths and weaknesses vi. All placement, resources, and goals are determined on the basis of the student’s needs vii. Should plan for accommodations and modifications to the regular program which include changes in curriculum, supplementary aides or equipment, and the provision of specialized physical adaptations that allow students to participate in the educational environment to the fullest extent possible.
4. METHODS OF EDUCATIONAL PROVISION 4. METHODS OF EDUCATIONAL PROVISION This can be broadly grouped into four categories, (using North American terminology): i. Inclusion: Students with special educational needs spend all, or at least more than half, of the school day with students who do not have special educational needs. Since inclusion can require substantial modification of the general curriculum, most schools use it only for selected students with mild to moderate special needs. Specialized services may be provided inside or outside the regular classroom, depending on the type of service.
Students may occasionally leave the regular classroom to attend smaller, more intensive instructional sessions in a resource room, or to receive other related services that might require specialized equipment or might be disruptive to the rest of the class, such as speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, or might require greater privacy, such as counseling sessions with a social worker. ii. Mainstreaming:
The practice of educating students with special needs in classes with non-disabled students during specific time periods based on their skills. iii. Segregation: The practice of educating students in a separate classroom or special school. Some of the typical features are: * students with special needs spend no time in classes with non-disabled students * students may attend the same school where regular classes are provided, but spend all instructional time exclusively in a separate classroom for students with special needs * if their special class is located in an ordinary school, they may be provided opportunities for social integration outside the classroom, e.g. , by eating meals with non-disabled students iv. Exclusion:
A student who does not receive instruction in any school is thus excluded from school. Exclusion may be described as * Those children with special needs which have been excluded from school, and such exclusion may still occur where there is no legal mandate for special education services, such as in developing and under developed countries * Children who are sick and need to be hospitalized; housebound children, or those
detained by the criminal justice system. These children may receive one-on-one instruction or group instruction in hospital, at home, or the place where they are being detained. However, students who have been suspended or expelled from schools are not considered excluded in this sense. 5. INSTRUCTIONAL STRATEGIES 5. INSTRUCTIONAL STRATEGIES Different instructional techniques are used for some students with special educational needs. Instructional strategies are classified as being either accommodations or modifications.
An accommodation is a reasonable adjustment to teaching practices so that the student learns the same material, but in a format that is accessible to the student. Accommodations may be classified by whether they change the presentation, response, setting, or scheduling. For example, the school may accommodate a student with visual impairments by providing a large print textbook. This is known as a presentation accommodation. Examples of accommodations i. Response accommodation. Typing homework assignments rather than hand-writing them (considered a modification if the subject is learning to write by hand).
Or by having someone else write down answers given verbally. ii. Presentation accommodation. Listening to audio books rather than reading printed books. Agencies like Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic and RNIB National Library service in the UK provide a variety of titles on tape and CD. These may be used as substitutes for the text, or as supplements intended to bolster the students’ reading fluency and phonetic skills. Similar options include designating a person to read text to the student, or providing text to speech software.
Others include designating a person to take notes during lectures, using a talking calculator rather than one with only a visual display. iii. Setting accommodation. Taking a test in a quieter room. Moving the class to a room that is physically accessible, e. g. , on the first floor of a building or near an elevator; or arranging seating assignments to benefit the student, e. g. , by sitting at the front of the classroom. iv. Scheduling accommodations. Students may be given rest breaks or extended time on tests (may be considered a modification, if speed is a factor in the test).
All developed countries permit or require some degree of accommodation for students with special needs, and special provisions are usually made in examinations which take place at the end of formal schooling. A modification changes or adapts the material to make it simpler. Modifications may change what is learned, how difficult the material is, what level of mastery the student is expected to achieve, whether and how the student is assessed, or any another aspect of the curriculum.
For example, the school may modify a reading assignment for a student with reading difficulties by substituting a shorter, easier book. A student may receive both accommodations and modifications. Examples of modifications i. Skipping subjects: Students may be taught less information than typical students, skipping over material that the school deems inappropriate for the student’s abilities or less important than other subjects. For example, students whose fine motor skills are weak may be taught to print block letter and not cursive handwriting.
ii. Simplified assignments: Students may read the same literature as their peers but have a simpler version, for example Shakespeare with both the original text and a modern paraphrase available. iii. Shorter assignments: Students may do shorter homework assignments or take shorter, more concentrated tests, e. g. 10 math problems instead of 30. iv. Extra aids: If students have deficiencies in working memory, a list of vocabulary words, called a word bank, can be provided during tests, to reduce lack of recall and increase chances of comprehension.
Students might use a calculator when other students are not. v. Extended time: Students with lower processing speed may benefit from extended time in assignments and/or tests in order to comprehend questions, recall information, and synthesize knowledge. In addition to how the student is taught the academic curriculum, schools may provide non-academic services to the student. These are intended ultimately to increase the student’s personal and academic abilities. Related services include developmental, corrective, and other supportive services as are required to assist a student with special needs.
This includes speech and language pathology, audiology, psychological services, physical therapy, occupational therapy, counseling services, including rehabilitation counseling, orientation and mobility services, medical services as defined by regulations, parent counseling and training, school health services, school social work, assistive technology services, other appropriate developmental or corrective support services, appropriate access to recreation and other appropriate support services.
In some countries, most related services are provided by the schools; in others, they are provided by the normal healthcare and social services systems. As an example, students who have autistic spectrum disorder, poor impulse control, or other behavioral challenges may learn self-management techniques, be kept closely on a comfortingly predictable schedule, or given extra cues to signal activities. 6. CHANGING PERSPECTIVES ON SPECIAL NEEDS CHILDREN 6. CHANGING PERSPECTIVES ON SPECIAL NEEDS CHILDREN In the nineteenth and twentieth century, medical profession was the first profession that gave significant attention to exceptional children.
The attention was on the unique characteristics of the children that helped to diagnose their condition and treatment. They gave very little attention to the environment, the family, the culture and its influences on those children. For example if a child was blind or mental retarded, it was accepted that the problem was entirely within the child. The basic problem was to find ways to help the child adapt to the surrounding world. As programs for exceptional children expanded, it became clear that exceptional child involved a mix of the individual’s characteristics which needed to take into account the demands of the environment on each individual.
With this, the concept of exceptionality moved from a medical model, which implies a physical condition or disease within the patient, to an ecological model which sees the exceptional child in complex interaction with environmental forces. 7. ENVIRONMENTAL INFLUENCES ON SPECIAL NEEDS CHILDREN ENVIRONMENTAL INFLUENCES ON SPECIAL NEEDS ENVIRONMENTAL INFLUENCES ON SPECIAL NEEDS ENVIRONMENTAL INFLUENCES ON SPECIAL NEEDS 7. ENVIRONMENTAL INFLUENCES ON SPECIAL NEEDS CHILDREN ENVIRONMENTAL INFLUENCES ON SPECIAL NEEDS ENVIRONMENTAL INFLUENCES ON SPECIAL NEEDS.
ENVIRONMENTAL INFLUENCES ON SPECIAL NEEDS In order to understand exceptional children, we have to understand the environment in which the child exists. The child is at the center of a complex network of forces: the family, the school, and the larger society. As the child develops, the impact of each of these forces changed. For example, the family may be very important in early years, but in later years, school and society become more important. Even though t he influence of parents on the child is undisputable, bur psychologists and educators also believe that children have a powerful influence on their parents.
A child who is hyperactive or has difficulty giving attention can create negative reaction among other members of the family. This will increase the child problem. Thus we need to look at both the effects of the family and the personal characteristics on the child. On the other hand, the school environment exerts a significant influence on the developing individual. Social forces and values can also influence exceptional children. The acceptance or non acceptance of the society on the handicapped children can affect the parents to cope with the exceptional child.
Thus we can say that family, school, and society leave greater impact on the ability to cope with exceptionality than the individual or the nature of the exceptionality itself. 8. FAMILIES OF SPECIAL NEEDS CHILDREN 9. FAMILIES OF SPECIAL NEEDS CHILDREN One of the important elements in the ecological setting of any child is the family. For the exceptional child, the critical role of the family environment is more visible. For normal or able-bodied person, it is difficult to understand what it is like to have a handicapping condition. We can try to understand physical handicap, blindness and deafness through simulation.
But still to those who have been handicapped from birth they do not have the visual, auditory and motor memories to help them. In fact it is harder to imagine what it is like to be mentally retarded – i. e. not to understand what is going on around them. Imagine failing at almost every tasks and what that does to an individual. Similarly it is hard to grasp the problems of the gifted of superior ability child, who cannot understand why others cannot see what is so obvious to him or her. Having exceptional children can happen to anyone, regardless of educational background, family status or financial standing.
Society at large has begun to appreciate the pain and stress of parents having a child who is handicapped, and to realize the important of external support to maintain their equilibrium under those circumstances. Most parents with a severely handicapped child must cope with at least two major crises. The first is the symbolic death of the child who was to be – the loss of their dreams and hopes. Expectant parents have high hope for the unborn child – for success, for education, and for financial security. The second crisis is more challenging: the problem of providing daily care for their exceptional child.
For example, the child who is autistic or cerebral palsied is often difficult to feed, to dress, and to put to bed. The thought that the child is not going to go through normal developmental process weighs heavily on them. 9. THE SPECIAL NEEDS CHILDREN AND THE SCHOOL 9. THE SPECIAL NEEDS CHILDREN AND THE SCHOOL School is not only a center for learning but also a social training ground. School provides opportunities for the child to develop skills and knowledge that will allow him to adapt to the society, to respond to adult requirements, to interact with his peers, to form friendships, and to learn how to work cooperatively with others.
For exceptional children school becomes particularly important in getting special kinds of assistance to become productive adults. Schools should carry out the responsibilities of providing a free public education for all children. In the past handicapped students have been deprived of the education because of the perception that these children did not fit into the established program. However in recent decades the schools have accepted their role more positively in giving equal education for all. 10. THE SPECIAL NEEDS CHILDREN IN THE SOCIETY 10. THE SPECIAL NEEDS CHILDREN IN THE SOCIETY.
The most revolutionary changes over the last few decades were the society’s view and acceptance of exceptional individuals as contributing members of society. However, it is helpful to understand the history of special needs children. The concept of giving education to every child to the highest performance possible is relatively new idea. The use of the term exceptional is itself a reflection of radical change in society’s view of those who differ from the norm. There are roughly four stages in the development of social attitudes toward children and adult with handicaps:
1. During the pre-Christian era where handicapped children were neglected or mistreated. 2. During the spread of Christianity, those children were protected and pities. 3. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries where institutions started to be established to provide separate education for exceptional children 4. In the latter part of twentieth century, we see a movement toward accepting people with handicaps and integrating them into society to the fullest extent possible. 11. ISSUES RELATED TO THE SPECIAL NEEDS CHILDREN 11. ISSUES RELATED TO THE SPECIAL NEEDS CHILDREN.
1. At-Risk Students At risk students (those with educational needs that are not associated with a disability) are often placed in classes with students who have disabilities. Critics assert that placing at-risk students in the same classes as students with disabilities may impede the educational progress of people with disabilities. Some special education classes have been criticized for a watered-down curriculum. [ 2. Inclusion The practice of inclusion (in mainstream classrooms) has been criticized by advocates and some parents of children with special needs.
This is because some of these students require instructional methods that differ from typical classroom methods. Critics assert that it is not possible to deliver effectively two or more very different instructional methods in the same classroom. As a result, the educational provision for these students who depend on different instructional methods in order to learn often fall even further behind their peers. Parents fear that their children would continue to lack behind from the rest of the class and thereby impair the academic achievements of all students.
(NOTE: Discussion on Country Report) 3. Eligibility Criteria Some parents, advocates, and students have concerns about the eligibility criteria and their application. In some cases, parents and students protest the students’ placement into special education programs. For example, a student may be placed into the special education programs due to a mental health condition such as obsessive compulsive disorder, depression, anxiety, panic attacks or ADHD, while the student and his parents believe that the condition is adequately managed through medication and outside therapy.
In other cases, students whose parents believe they require the additional support of special education services are denied participation in the program based on the eligibility criteria. 4. Severely disabled children It is debated whether it is useful and appropriate to attempt to educate the most severely disabled children, such as children who are in a persistent vegetative state. While many severely disabled children can learn simple tasks, such as pushing a buzzer when they want attention, some children may be incapable of learning.
Some parents and advocates say that these children would be better served by substituting improved physical care for any academic program. 13. INCLUSIVE EDUCATION IN MALAYSIA: COUNTRY REPORT MINISTRY OF EDUCATION MALAYSIA 14. INCLUSIVE EDUCATION IN MALAYSIA: COUNTRY REPORT MINISTRY OF EDUCATION MALAYSIA National Education Philosophy * To reinforce the direction and goals of national education. * It emphasises holistic and integrated education. * To nurture well-balanced students physically, emotionally, spiritually and intellectually Vision: Excellent Schools and a Glorious Nation.
Mission: Developing Individual Potential through Quality Education Overview of the system: INCLUSIVE EDUCATION: Welcome all learners regardless of their characteristics or disadvantages and addressing the diverse needs of all learners by reducing barriers within the learning environment. Adopting more holistic definition of inclusive education Inclusive education means that all students in a school, regardless of their differences, are part of the school community and can feel that they belong. The mandate to ensure access, participation and achievement for every student is taken as given.
(Department of Education, Tasmania, 2006) Building … a school community where students are not only valued and respected but also involves social connectedness and creates a feeling of belonging among the students (DISABLED + NON DISABLED). Inclusive education in Malaysia is illustrated by the opportunity to gain access (without gender bias) to quality education for all, including ‘At Risk’ children/adults, namely: * Children with special education needs; * Indigenous children (Orang Asli & Penans); * Children in hospitals (Schools in Hospital); * Young convicts and juveniles (IS & HGS);
* Undocumented or stateless children; and * Indigenous adults (Adult education classes) Malaysia Embraces Inclusive Education * 2003: Compulsory primary education * 2008: Free education or fully funded schooling (No school fees or examination fees) * Support program: Textbooks-on-loan, boarding facilities, scholarships, allowances, food & nutrition and school health. * Curricula for specific groups: Modified/alternative curriculum for children with special needs, special curriculum for indigenous pupils and special learning modules for indigenous adults * Remedial and enrichment programs to reduce gaps in 3Rs.
LEGISLATION ACT 550 – EDUCATION ACT (1996) Chapter 3 – Compulsory Education: Minister to provide primary education for all 29A. (1) The Minister may, by order published in the Gazette, prescribe primary education to be compulsory education. Chapter 8 – Special Education 40. The Minister shall provide special education in special schools established under paragraph 34(1) (b) or in such primary or secondary schools as the Minister deems expedient. Power to prescribe the duration of and curriculum on special education 41. (1) Subject to subsections (2) and (3), the Minister may by regulations prescribe —.
(a) the duration of primary and secondary education suitable to the needs of a pupil in receipt of special education; (b) the curriculum to be used in respect of special education; (c) the categories of pupils requiring special education and the methods appropriate for the education of pupils in each category of special schools; and (d) any other matter which the Minister deems expedient or necessary for the purposes of this Chapter. Below are illustrations of the acts: ACT 685 – PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES ACT PWDs (Persons with disabilities) (2008).
36. (1) The Government and the private healthcare service provider shall make available essential health services to persons with disabilities which shall include the following: a. prevention of further occurrence of disabilities, immunization, nutrition, environmental protection and preservation and genetic counselling; and b. early detection of disabilities and timely intervention to arrest disabilities and treatment for rehabilitation INTERNATIONAL LEGISLATION a. Convention on the Rights of the Child, UNESCO (12th December 1989) b.
Jomtein World Conference on Education for All, UNESCO (1990) Article 1: Meeting Basic Learning Needs Every person – child, youth and adult – shall be able to benefit from educational opportunities designed to meet their basic learning needs c. Salamanca Statement 1994: School should accommodate all children regardless of their physical, intellectual, social, emotional, linguistic or other conditions d. Dakar Framework for Action (2000) Article 7(i): Expanding and improving comprehensive early childhood care and education for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children e.
Biwako Millennium Framework for Action 2002: Towards an Inclusive, Barrier Free & Right-based Society for Persons with Disabilities f. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2006 TYPES OF CHILDREN WITH LEARNING DISABILITIES 1. Children with Pervasive Development Disorders (PDD), Autism, Asperger Syndrome, Rett Syndrome, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder or PDD-NOS. 2. Children with Specific Developmental Disorders – Speech & Language, Cognitive Skills, Motor Function and mixed specific developmental disorders. 3. Children with chromosomal disorder : (Angelman/Prader Willi Syndrome, Down Syndrome , Klinefelter Syndrome…)
4. Children with other Developmental Disorders (Apert Syndrome, Goldenhar, Syndrome, Noonan Syndrome…) 5. Children with Specific Learning Difficulties – Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Dyscalculia, Dysgraphia, etc. 6. Children with Emotional Behavioural Difficulties – ADD, ADHD, CD, ODD, etc. 7. Children with multiple disabilities. EARLY IDENTIFICATION & INTERVENTION Early Identification a. Literacy and Numeracy Screening (LINUS) b. Checklist (Screening instrument) : Identify children for special needs to be referred for diagnosis by registered doctors EARLY AND TIMELY INTERVENTION a. Special Education -.
* Trained teachers, teaching styles, classroom environment, curriculum, extracurricular activities and assistive devices. * Special Education Service Centres Special Education Service Centre: a. Facilities: * Audiology room * Low vision room * Occupational therapy room * Physiotherapy room * Psychology room * Multi-sensory room * Common Rehab Corner and * Toy library. b. Personnel: * Audiologist * Speech pathologist * Peripatetic * Physiotherapist * Occupational Therapist * Educational and/or Clinical Psychologist. c. Services: * Audiology * Individual/Group Speech Therapy * hearing aids and Braille maintenance * low vision and mob.