Education For People With Disabilities

I’ve found the interaction between special education and general education to be the most difficult and ubiquitous challenge I’ve faced in my career as an educator. This has never been an easy relationship between the two, as evidenced by history. Human educators from both sides of the aisle have been involved in a lot of arguing about educational policy and methods, as well as services for students with special needs, and how to best provide them to students on both sides of the aisle.

I’ve worked in education for more than two decades on both sides. In dealing with special education legislation, special education children, and their specialised teachers, I’ve had firsthand experience with what it’s like to be a regular main stream educator. When it comes to working with students with special needs in general education classrooms, I’ve found that changing lesson plans and instructional resources, as well as practising more patience and empathy, have been beneficial strategies for me.

As a mainstream regular education teacher, I’ve also tried to figure out how I can best work with a new special education teacher in my classroom and his or her special education kids. As a special education inclusion teacher, I have intruded on the territory of certain regular education instructors with my kids’ unique needs and the changes I believe these teachers should implement. I can tell you from personal experience that this balancing act between special education and general school has not been an easy one at all.. Neither do I anticipate that this tug-of-war will get any less difficult any time soon.

So, what exactly do we mean when we talk about special education? And what is it about it that is so unique, yet at the same time so thorny and contentious at times? As the name implies, special education is a subset of the larger field of education. A surgeon who “tamed” the “wild lad of Aveyron,” Jean-Marc-Gaspard Itard (1775-1838), and a teacher who “worked wonders” with Helen Keller, Anne Sullivan Macy (1866-1936), are among the persons it claims to be descended from on its website.

Students with unique physical, cognitive, linguistic, learning, sensory, and/or emotional needs are served by special educators who specialise in these areas. Individualized instruction is provided by special education teachers. These teachers help children with disabilities get an education that they otherwise wouldn’t have been able to get because of their disabilities.

Special education has a long and colourful history in the United States, and it is not simply the work of teachers that has contributed to that legacy. In an effort to improve the treatment of people with disabilities, physicians and clergy, notably Itard, Edouard O. Seguin, Samuel Gridley Howe, and Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, worked together. When it comes to students that are different in some way, the education system in this country was often inattentive and harsh.

Our country’s literature is replete with accounts of how people with disabilities were treated in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Unfortunately, people with disabilities were often held in prisons and almshouses without enough food, clothing, personal cleanliness, or exercise in these stories as well as in reality.

Tiny Tim in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is a perfect illustration of how this type of character is handled differently in our literature (1843). People with impairments have also been shown as villains, like in J.M. Barrie’s 1911 book Captain Hook in Peter Pan.

One’s misfortunes should be accepted as a kind of obedience to God and because they are eventually for one’s benefit, according to the authors of this historical period. Progress for individuals with disabilities was difficult to achieve at this time because of the widespread use of this type of thinking.

So, what could the rest of society do to help these unfortunate souls? People with disabilities were thought to be best cared for in rural settings in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, according to medical practitioners. Almost a “out of sight, out of memory” effect…

By the late nineteenth century, however, the size of these facilities had grown to the point where rehabilitation for people with disabilities was no longer possible. Institutions were used as tools to maintain racial segregation in perpetuity.

These educational segregation policies are not new to me. This is a mixed bag of good and bad. My background as a self-contained teacher includes stints in public high schools, middle schools, and elementary school self-contained classrooms. Furthermore, I’ve worked in a number of special education behavioural self-contained schools that housed children with disabilities who needed extra help managing their behaviour from their general education peers in completely distinct buildings, some of which were even in different towns.

Many professionals in the field of special education have come to criticise the above-mentioned institutions for isolating and segregating our children with disabilities from their peers. Irvine Howe was a pioneer in advocating for the release of our children from large institutions and the placement of its inhabitants in families. As a result, this method proved to be an ineffective alternative to institutionalisation for our kids with disabilities, and it took a long time before it could be implemented.

In 1817, Gallaudet founded the American Asylum for the Education and Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb (now known as the American School for the Deaf) in Hartford, Connecticut, which was the first special education school in the United States. Students with hearing impairments can still attend that school, which is now regarded as one of the best in the country. Success at its finest!

However, as you might expect, the American School for the Deaf was the exception rather than the rule in this time period in terms of its long-term success. Additionally, environmentalism was supplanted as the dominant explanation for people with disabilities who differ from their peers in the general population by social Darwinism in the late nineteenth century.

In the early 20th century, Darwinism opened the way to eugenics. Individuals with disabilities, such as mental retardation, were thereafter further isolated and even sterilised. Our own country, our own people and our own people are doing exactly what Hitler was doing in Germany. Isn’t it a little unnerving and inhumane?

This type of treatment is simply not acceptable in our society today. And in the early 20th century, several individuals, especially the parents of disadvantaged children, found this unacceptable. As a result, groups of concerned and outraged parents developed to raise awareness about the educational requirements of children with impairments. If this eugenics and sterilisation drive was ever going to be halted, the public had to recognise how awful it was for our students who were different.

Even some states have enacted laws to safeguard their citizens with disabilities, thanks to grassroots efforts. People who are blind or visually impaired have the right-of-way when crossing the street under a 1930 law in Peoria, Illinois. In the beginning, this was a step forward, and other states followed suit. When local grassroots movements and state movements built up enough clout among elected officials, national action on behalf of persons with disabilities became a possibility.

In 1961, President John F. Kennedy created the President’s Panel on Mental Retardation. When Lyndon Johnson signed the Elementary and Secondary Education Act in 1965, it provided financing for elementary education and is considered by advocacy groups as increasing public education for children with disabilities.

In light of Kennedy and Johnson’s civil rights records, it comes as no surprise that these two presidents were instrumental in leading the national campaign for Americans with disabilities.

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 was created as a result of this federal campaign. Any programme or activity getting financial support from the federal government has its civil rights guaranteed. Throughout my career as a teacher, I have dealt with 504 issues on an almost daily basis.

Public Law 94-142, the Education for All Handicapped Children Act (EHA), was passed by Congress in 1975 and guarantees equal access to public education for all children. Another benefit of federal legislation was the elimination of the necessity for parents to educate their children mostly at home or shell out significant sums of money for private schooling.

While the movement was expanding, The Supreme Court ruled in 1982 in the case of the Board of Education of the Hendrick Hudson Central School District v. Rowley that special-needs kids should get adequate treatment. According to the Court, pupils receiving special education services just need to receive a “educational benefit.” Students with impairments were not required to achieve their full potential in public schools.

Although this decision may not seem like a success in 2017, the same subject is being debated in our courts today. Given the historical period, it was a success because it proved that special education children could not simply walk out of our educational system without gaining any knowledge. They’d have to come to some sort of conclusion eventually. If you are familiar with the legal system in the United States, you are aware that progress is made in small steps that accumulate over time. Special education kids gained a new rung in the ladder of success because to this decision.

The Regular Education Initiative (REI) was conceived in the 1980s and is still active today. This was an attempt to give local schools and ordinary classroom teachers back control of the education of students with disabilities. Because I worked as a REI teacher for four years in the late 1990s and early 2000s, I am well-versed in the programme. While working as a REI teacher, I was certified as a regular education teacher and as a special education teacher, both of which were mandated by the post.

Our special education students saw a significant increase in the 1990s. In 1990, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was signed into law by President George H (IDEA). All of our pupils should have access to a free and adequate public education (FAPE). Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) were required for all students receiving special education services to ensure FAPE (IEP).

It was not simply public schools that were included in the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act. Also, Title 3 of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) prohibits discrimination based on disability in any public facility. People were expected to have equal access and use of public goods and services. Of course, public facilities also included the majority of educational institutions.

Full inclusion also acquired a lot of traction in the 1990s. Students with impairments should be taught in the regular classroom, according to this policy statement. Throughout my career as an educator, I have also had the opportunity to work as an inclusion teacher on both sides of the aisle, as both a general and special education teacher.

President Bush’s No Child Left Behind bill, which superseded President Johnson’s Elementary and Secondary Education Act, is next on our list of educational reforms (ESEA). Educators’ levels of accountability were dramatically raised as part of the NCLB Act of 2001, which mandated that special education remain focused on generating results.