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In the two studies I reviewed, both pertained to school aged homeless children. Both studies were conducted to determine the need for a better education for these children. The first study I reviewed was called, Sheltered homeless children: Their eligibility and unmet need for special education evaluations. This study focused on the exploration of unmet need of special education evaluations
for homeless children in Los Angeles, California. The second of my studies was called, Cognitive and academic functioning of homeless children compared to housed children.
The analyzation focused on the effects of being homeless to a child’s cognitive and academic functioning. Both of the above studies brought about the same basic issue of homeless children having the right to a better education. In both studies it was determined that homeless children, when tested, perform rather poorly in the area of academics.
In the first study (Sheltered Homeless Children: Their Eligibility and Unmet Need for Special Education evaluations) homeless shelters were selected randomly and from these families were selected that consisted of one child aged 6 to 12 years.
Testing was performed in a quiet place. There were 118 parents and 169 children involved in the study. The parents were asked questions pertaining to the how and why of homelessness. The homeless children were tested with questions from the RAND Course of Homelessness Study 3.9, a Behavior Checklist, the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test, the National Health Service, and the Woodcock-Johnson Language Proficiency Battery Assessment Test. The Peabody Vocabulary picture test was also used in the second study.
In the second study (Cognitive and Academic Functioning of Homeless Children compared with Housed Children) the homeless children and their mothers selected for the study were from the Bronx in NY. There were 102 homeless children in the study. They were between the ages of 6-11, around the same age group as the first study, they were sought out of public schools. The housed children were selected randomly for the study. The mothers were asked how and why they became homeless and how long they had been homeless, and if they had a job, as in the study before. The children were all tested with numerous tests pertaining to their academic and cognitive functioning skills. The Raven’s Test, the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test, the Wide-range Achievement Test, a Child Depression Inventory test, and A maternal Anxiety test were issued to the children.
Both of the studies focused on the same issue, that homeless children were not being assessed for their need of assistance with their academics. The first study did not involve children who were not homeless but the second study used them as a control. The second study also focused more on the effects of being homeless leading to anxiety and depression. Both of the studies had determined that homeless children have poorer scores compared to those that are non-homeless, and that they are more developmentally delayed. Both the studies also found that they have a higher rate of learning disabilities. There is also a higher need to assess children who might be eligible for special education services. The findings of the first study imply that there is a high level of unmet need for special education evaluations for homeless children. There should be more procedures conducted to determine one’s eligibility for special education services for the homeless. Also, interventions should be provided for school-aged homeless children from special education professionals, general
health care providers, and housing services. The second study suggests that there needs to be more of an effort to educate those that are homeless by academic professors. There needs to be more assessment of special education for these children. The study also touched on the fact that these children are often depressed and have a high rate of anxiety, this should be assessed through counseling services.
In both of the studies, society needs to take an interest in helping get these children off the streets in the first place. The main purpose for both of the studies was to examine the impact homelessness has on a child’s academic functional level. In both of the studies it was found that homeless children between the ages of 6-12 scored lower on achievement tests. They also had a higher level of depression and anxiety. Furthermore, they also had an increased rate of learning disabilities and the need for special education evaluations. Society needs to put more of an effort in getting these children off the streets and into a proper home so they can grow more academically and to develop at a typical rate. Academic professionals need to assess their need of assistance with their work and assess a higher need of special education evaluations. Professionals need to understand that these children have a harder time concentrating on their academic material because they are faced with issues like where they are going to sleep tonight instead of 4+3.
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