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What Is Special Education? Essay

3185 words - 13 pages

Before covering the main idea behind how technology can enhance learning of special students, it is important to discuss what qualifies a student as ?special?. Special Education is identified as, ?the education of children who deviate socially, mentally, or physically from the average to such an extent that they require major modifications of usual school practices,? (Encyclopedia Britannica Online, 2005, p.1). According to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Amendments of 1997, ?students with disabilities include those with mental retardation, hearing impairments, speech or language impairments, visual impairments, serious emotional disturbance, orthopedic impairments, autism, other health impairments, or specific learning disabilities,? (Warger, 1999, p.1). Since there are so many different types of disabilities, each student needs to be assessed to determine the best type of learning environment for them (Ralabate, 2002, p. 13-14). This is a very important part of helping special education students from the very beginning of their education. With the right leadership from teachers, and knowing what works best with teaching each unique student, they can reach their full potential in learning.

Inclusion

?Children who learn together, learn to live together? (Renaissance Group, 1999, p.1).
Resurfacing the issue of different teaching methods in Special Education, many schools educate students in an Inclusive environment. Inclusion refers to the placement and participation of students with special needs into a general education environment such as classrooms and extra curricular programs (Lewis & Doorlag, 1999, p.5). Many find the use of inclusion in schools very beneficial to both special and general education students. For example, The William S. Baer School in West Baltimore is a special education school with a ?reverse inclusion?. This school accepts students into the classrooms without any disabilities to provide an inclusion program for ?normal? students. These students may attend for any reason, but mostly because their parents find the interaction between them and special students imperative, not to mention to 1:2 teachers to students ratio (Loh, 2004, p. 1B). Lewis and Doorlag emphasize the importance of the special students remaining with their peers and not being excluded from normal activities in school. They also discuss the reduction of labeling these students in the mainstream environment (1999, p.12). Special students develop socially with their peers and become comfortable working with ?normal learners?, which prepares them for life experiences such as finding a job, working with others, or getting involved in the community. In my personal experience, I attended a high school with an inclusion program and have had many opportunities to interact with these students. Not only were they present and participating at a majority of the schools? events, they were interacting with the rest of us. It also made the...

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