What are the potential effects of state and federal regulations on the classroom environment?
State and federal regulations in regards to learning disabilities have had many effects on the classroom environment. According to Bender (2008), the history of learning disabilities can be broken down into six separate periods. Besides separate periods, Bender also described various learning theories. Each period and each theory has impacted the definition of learning disability and therefore, legislation that impacts students with learning disabilities.
A key component of the most current legislation in regards to students identified with learning disabilities and the one that has, perhaps, had the largest impact on the classroom is that schools are required to provide a free appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment. Researchers have discovered that a positive classroom environment is one of the most important factors in the success of any classroom, particularly the least restrictive one, and a large focus has been placed on the development of various strategies to accomplish this.
First, one of the greatest influences on a child’s ability to learn is the physical space of the classroom. Structure and organization are especially necessary for children with learning disabilities. The physical space should be organized and uncluttered. The less distractions, the better. Bender indicated that Werner and Strauss, and later Cruickshank, recommended a reduced-stimuli environment; one in which external noise and light were reduced while learning tasks were highlighted. They suggested the use of carpeted floors to reduce noise and the use study cubicles to keep children from seeing other stimuli. These are similar to many strategies still used today.
Second, over the years research has...