Since the passing of The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), schools are required to serve all students regardless of their disability in a least restrictive environment. Due to increase in the number of students being identified and placed in general education classrooms, educators can expect to serve students with disabilities. It is important to understand the different types of disabilities, the characteristics of these disabilities, and causes; in order to ensure the success of students. This paper will define severe disabilities, mental retardation, traumatic brain injury, autism, and deaf-blindness. In addition, this paper will address the characteristics and causes of each disability.
Definition of Severe Disabilities
There are many different definitions used to define the meaning of severe disabilities, a general definition for severe disabilities is any disability that significantly limits a person's physical, mental or emotional performance, and requires ongoing extensive support in more than one major life activity in order to participate fully in education, community settings or work. According, to Heward (2009), severe disabilities includes, “students with significant disabilities in intellectual, physical, and/or social functioning, students that have multiple disabilities or deaf-blindness, students with severe mental retardation, severe emotional disturbance, and severe disabilities or health impairments are encompassed by the term” (p.453).
Characteristics of Severe Disabilities
Depending upon, the combination and severity of disabilities, and the age of the person with severe disabilities they may exhibit a wide range of characteristics, however, “one defining characteristic of students with severe disabilities is that they exhibit significant and obvious deficits in multiple life-skill or developmental areas” (Heward, 2009, p.457). The National Dissemination Center for Children With Disabilities, (NICHCY) identifies some characteristics a student may exhibit includes : limited speech or communication skills, poor generalization and maintenance skills, slow rate of learning, limited self-help skills, acquiring new skills, temper tantrums, difficulty in basic physical and motor skills, infrequent constructive behavior and interaction (2004). These students can additionally, exhibit a warm, positive, loving, sociable, humorous, and diligence attitudes.
Causes of Severe Disabilities
Severe disabilities may occur during prenatal (before birth) due to chromosomal abnormalities, drug and alcohol uses, or viral infections. Severe disabilities can additionally, occur during perinatal (during birth), from lack of oxygen supply or injury to the baby’s brain at birth, or from an infection contracted during birth. In addition, severe disabilities may occur during postnatal (after birth) due to a traumatic brain injury, a childhood infections, exposure to toxics or poisoning,
Definition of Mental...