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We present and explain several reasons that special education as a field has not been served well by the lessons of our history, but has the extraordinary opportunity, if…
We present and explain several reasons that special education as a field has not been served well by the lessons of our history, but has the extraordinary opportunity, if not responsibility, to learn from history and use these lessons to guide practice. Our premises include (a) special educators may be less aware of their past than professionals in other disciplines, and thus less likely to build on this past; (b) given the relatively short history of the field as we know it today, we have access to many leaders who shaped policy and practice in special education; and (c) special education faces crossroads in many respects, and these have the potential to drastically re-shape or re-define special education. As such, we believe that contextualizing our present and future direction in an understanding of our past is critical now more than ever.
This chapter addresses emotional and behavioral disorders (EBD) in the larger context of special education. The author suggests that EBD, like special education more…
This chapter addresses emotional and behavioral disorders (EBD) in the larger context of special education. The author suggests that EBD, like special education more generally, has been distracted by issues such as labeling, disproportionality, and inclusion rather than keeping a clear focus on instruction. Revisionist history has led to misunderstanding of what special education is and does. A more promising future for the field depends on focusing on instruction, embracing scientific research, developing checklists and manuals to guide practice that are based on scientific evidence whenever possible, working for sustained student success, and using language more carefully and precisely.
Critical theory integrates the value of social justice into the practice of research and focuses on the manner in which injustice and subjugation shape peoples’ experience…
Critical theory integrates the value of social justice into the practice of research and focuses on the manner in which injustice and subjugation shape peoples’ experience and understanding of the world (Endres, 1997). A critical theory perspective is specifically concerned with issues of power and justice and the ways that the economy, race, class, gender, ideologies, discourses, education, religion, disability, and other social institutions interact to construct a social system (Kellner, 2003). Thus, critical inquiry must be connected to attempts to confront injustices of society. Clearly, an effective history of special education law can better illuminate some of the injustices commonly experienced by students with disabilities. However, the majority of school administrators and directors of student services and special education have viewed special education regulations through a positivist lens. Skrtic (1995) contended that although positivism has been discredited, it is still the theory of knowledge used in modern professionalism (including education, special education, and other social sciences). Professional knowledge in this positivist framework is received and perceived by students as objective truth because the scientific process remains the mechanism for discovering and applying new knowledge. Society affords professionals autonomy on the assumption that professionals, by virtue of their access to specialized knowledge, know what is best for their clients. In a type of moebius loop construction, only the professionals can judge what is best for their clients because they are the only ones with access to the specialized knowledge. This knowledge, frequently based on “traditional” histories, becomes the pervasive, professional knowledge employed in practice. Thus, it is essential to understand the assumptions inherent in this knowledge base.
Over the course of several decades, the field of bilingual special education has found much support in the reform movement that has become known as multicultural education…
Over the course of several decades, the field of bilingual special education has found much support in the reform movement that has become known as multicultural education. Born out of the 1960s civil rights movement (Mclaren & Muñoz, 2000), multicultural education “is a field in education that is dedicated to equal opportunity for all students. Even groups who appear to be monocultural are diverse in regards to class, gender, and language” (Ooka Pang, 2005, p. 213). Multicultural education “assumes that race, ethnicity, culture, and social class are salient parts of U.S. society. It also assumes that ethnic and cultural diversity enriches the nation and increases the ways in which its citizens can perceive and solve personal and public problems” (Banks, 2002, p. 1). Thus, multicultural education supports the call for bilingual special education in teacher preparation and in schools. For special educators, in particular, understanding the link between exceptionalities and cultural diversity is fundamental to their professional role (Hallahan et al., 2009). In the context of a multilingual and multicultural country, such as the United States, bilingual special education is no doubt the best way to ensure that a subgroup of our population (i.e., bilingual exceptional children) has real opportunities to succeed. A major concern for any educator, but especially for bilingual special educators who value and seek to implement multicultural education, is to ensure that bilingual exceptional learners are not placed at a disadvantage because of their linguistic and cultural backgrounds. Here the term culture encompasses all the various aspects (subcultures) that contribute to define an individual. These are race, ethnicity, language, exceptionality, sexual orientation, gender, religion, socioeconomic background, and age.
This chapter provides an overview of special education in Canada, with specific reference to historical and modern trends and practices. Information regarding demographic trends, legislation and policy, contentious issues, Provincial differences, school and classroom practices, teacher education and professional development, and family involvement are outlined. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the ongoing challenges faced by education jurisdictions in Canada with respect to special education.
This chapter provides a comprehensive presentation and discussion of special education in Sweden. The presentation and discussion are tied deeply to the country’s general…
This chapter provides a comprehensive presentation and discussion of special education in Sweden. The presentation and discussion are tied deeply to the country’s general education system which incorporates social and political aspects as well as beliefs in equity for all.
The municipalities in Sweden have a large degree of independence as such special education can be organized in different ways. Yet, within each municipality’s educational structure is the common theme that students are different therefore teaching cannot be the same for everyone. The following chapter sections provide the reader with a better understanding of Sweden’s general special education system today: legislative acts that ensure equal access to education; the special education context; the history of special education and service in Sweden; the expansion of special education starting in the 1960s and early 1970s; current prevalence data; a clarification of differentiation, inclusion and categorization; teacher preparation advances; problems in schools and student’s difficulties; a description of inclusive education; and current challenges to inclusive education.
This chapter describes the status of past and current special education, inclusive education, and Low-Incidence Disabilities (LID) in South Korea by introducing historical…
This chapter describes the status of past and current special education, inclusive education, and Low-Incidence Disabilities (LID) in South Korea by introducing historical background, legal development, and current trend. Four main areas related to special education in South Korea are highlighted: the historical background and legal development of special education; current laws relating to special education; inclusive education and LID; and the future of LID support in South Korea. This chapter will provide valuable information for those who want to become more knowledgeable about the current status of special education and inclusive education for learners with LID in South Korea.
The history of special education has been influenced by changing societal and philosophical beliefs about the extent to which individuals with disabilities should be…
The history of special education has been influenced by changing societal and philosophical beliefs about the extent to which individuals with disabilities should be feared, segregated, categorized, and educated. Prior to the 1700s, individuals with exceptionalities were largely ignored or subjected to inhumane treatment, ridicule, isolation, and at times put to death (D'Antonio, 2004; Winzer, 1993, 1998). However, the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries ushered in rational philosophical beliefs about human dignity, which led to changes in the treatment and societal perceptions of individuals with exceptionalities (Winzer, 1998). These changes also were supported by efforts of pioneering special educators and advocates who began to experiment with various individually designed approaches to educating individuals with exceptionalities and to disseminate their work to others (Winzer, 1993).
People with disabilities have always existed in our communities and societies; however, how we treat them has always been an issue. For example, for a long time, people…
People with disabilities have always existed in our communities and societies; however, how we treat them has always been an issue. For example, for a long time, people with physical disabilities received more attention than those with disabilities that we could hardly see (e.g., learning disabilities). Very early research focused on students with sensory impairments and then the focus shifted to students with cognitive impairments. Finally, the focus was on students with learning disabilities and emotional behavioral disorders. Early research with this last group of students focused on comparing students with and without disabilities to document deficits and characteristics of these individuals. Over time, when the characteristics were established, researchers moved their attention to interventions or ways to improve deficits in specific content areas such as reading and mathematics. This chapter is an introduction to the rest of this volume that addresses different viewpoints on interventions for students with different types of disabilities.