Effective Education for Learners with Exceptionalities: Volume 15

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Table of contents

(26 chapters)

In spite of the best efforts of educational policy analysts, local, state and federal legislation, researchers, and practitioners, the results of public schooling in the U.S. remains unsatisfactory on a variety of counts. This remains true particularly in our largest and most complex school systems. The limited impact of much school reform has led to a more systemic approach to educational reform. A systems perspective examines the whole organization and the interrelationships between its component parts. The systems approach to change, renewal and innovation is helpful not only as we think about the national picture but as we confront the everyday challenges of our work. The systemic change framework provides an approach to thinking about the work of practitioners, schools, and school districts to help reformers and change agents think about the benefits and counterbalances to innovations and improvements they propose.

The number of individuals with ASD is growing tremendously since autism was recognized as a category for special education services in IDEA. While the disorder was first described by Kanner in 1943 and again by Asperger in 1944, it did not receive substantial attention until 1981, when Dr. Lorna Wing wrote an influential article which revived the early work of Kanner and Asperger (Nash, 2002). Since then there has been an increase in research related to etiology, prevalence, educational and social-emotional intervention, and assessment and diagnosis. This research has highlighted that: ASD appears to run in families; their may be as many as 20 genes involved in autism; individuals with ASD think, socialize and emote differently; there appears to be some neurological misconnection present in the brains of individuals with ASD (Nash, 2002). Positively, there have been advances in educational, therapeutic and medication management that has allowed individuals with ASD to be more inclusively involved in our society.

Educators are faced with a number of unique challenges when programming for students with TBI. Issues of widespread lack of recognition of TBI among educators and differing medical and educational classification systems complicate identification of this population of students. Once students are properly identified, the challenge of developing appropriate programs for individual students with TBI is compounded by the lack of research based instructional and behavioral intervention strategies designed specifically for this student population. However, despite these challenges, effective educational programs can be developed for students with TBI if educators recognize the features that distinguish this population of students from other disability groups, address the functional needs of individual students, and adhere to specialized planning procedures. An understanding of the influence of age at time of injury and typical patterns of functioning following TBI provides educators with requisite information with which to begin planning. Identification of specific needs of individual students coupled with the selection of effective teaching strategies to meet such needs enables educators to design effective intervention plans. Additionally, observance of specialized procedures, such as early and ongoing collaborative planning between health care and school systems, frequent IEP reviews, and extensive transition planning, as well as adequate teacher training further ensures the educational success of students with TBI.

Students who are gifted and talented have many outstanding attributes in a variety of areas. Some may demonstrate superior intellectual, academic, and creative abilities while others may demonstrate remarkable skills in visual and performing arts. The problem inherent in defining giftedness is the many attributes that are identified with giftedness, and the problematic nature by which evaluations are conducted. Although an individual test of intelligence can identify high achievers, a multidimensional approach to identification is needed if we are to identify all children with gifts and talents, especially those from underserved and neglected populations. While efforts to provide enhanced educational opportunities for gifted and talented students are inundated with problems, most school districts do attempt to provide a differentiated curricular to meet the needs of high ability students. What is needed is a federal law that mandates a free and appropriate individualized education program for all students with gifts and talents similar to that provided for children with disabilities.

Cover of Effective Education for Learners with Exceptionalities
Publication date
Book series
Advances in Special Education
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
Book series ISSN