Recommended Special Education Movies



I am Sam

Sam Dawson (Sean Penn), a mentally challenged man with the IQ of a 7 year old, is living in Los Angeles and is single-handedly raising his daughter Lucy (Dakota Fanning), whom he fathered from a homeless woman who wanted nothing to do with Lucy and left him the day of her birth. Although Sam provides a loving and caring environment for the 7-year-old Lucy, she soon surpasses her father's mental capacity. Questions arise about Sam’s ability to care for Lucy and a custody case is brought to court.

Sam is a man with a mental age of 7 who is well adjusted and has a great support system consisting of four similarly developmentally disabled men. His neighbor Annie (Dianne Wiest), a piano-player and agoraphobe, befriends Sam and takes care of Lucy when Sam can't.

Sam works at Starbucks bussing tables. Sam is popular with the customers, whom he addresses by name and favorite coffee. His job gets difficult when Lucy starts grabbing objects, making a woman spill iced coffee down her shirt. In a humorous, but innocent exchange, Sam tries to remove an ice cube from the startled woman's cleavage. Sam then brings Lucy to his neighbor and baby Lucy croons, "Annie!" Sam says, "Her first word was Annie." Flustered but flattered, she retorts, "And people worry you aren't smart," and agrees to function as Lucy's babysitter.

Lucy is as precocious as Sam is backwards. Sam loves reading Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss to her, but when she starts reading "real hard" books like Stellaluna, she balks at reading the word "different" because she doesn't want to be smarter than her dad. She knows he's different, "not like other dads", but that's all right with her because he is loving, taking her to the park and to International House of Pancakes (every Wednesday, because "Wednesday is IHOP night").

When they decide to go to Big Boy for a change, Sam causes a disturbance because he cannot get the kind of French pancakes he is accustomed to. At the school Halloween party, he dresses as one of the Beatles but embarrasses his daughter by drawing undue attention. Other kids tease her, calling her dad a "retard". She tells one boy that she is adopted. This causes a crisis at her birthday party, which results in an unexpected visit from a social worker who takes Lucy away. A judge allows him only two supervised, 2-hour visits per week.

Sam's friends recommend that he hire Rita (Michelle Pfeiffer), a lawyer. He shows up at her office and starts spelling out his situation while she juggles coffee orders to her assistant, Patricia. Socially, Sam is rather high-functioning—more together in many ways than his high-class, respected lawyer whose marriage is falling apart and whose son hates her.

Sam surprises Rita at a party. Stunned, she announces that she's taking his case pro bono, because others see her as cold and heartless.

Rita begrudgingly works with Sam to help him keep his parental rights, but chaos arises when Lucy convinces Sam to help her run away from the foster home she is being kept in during the trial. Over the course of the trial, Sam gets a new job at Pizza Hut and Annie leaves her apartment for the first time in years. Sam also helps Rita with her family problems, and helps her to realize how much her son really means to her. Sam also convinces her to leave her husband, because Rita told him that he cheated on her.

During the trial, however, Sam breaks down, after being convinced that he is not capable of taking care of Lucy.

Meanwhile, Lucy is placed with a foster family who plan to adopt her. Lucy often runs away from her foster parents in the middle of the night to go see Sam, who moved into a larger apartment closer to her.

In the end, the foster family who planned on adopting Lucy lets Sam have custody of her. Sam says that Lucy still needs a mother and asks if the foster mother would like to help raise Lucy. The movie ends with Lucy's soccer game where Sam is the referee. In attendance are Lucy's former foster family, the newly divorced Rita and her son with whom Rita has renewed her relationship, along with Annie and Sam's other friends.


Rain Man

Charlie Babbitt (Cruise), a Los Angeles car dealer in his mid-twenties, is in the middle of expensive negotiations over four luxury sports cars. The deal is being threatened by the EPA, and if Charlie cannot meet its requirements he will lose significant money. After some quick subterfuge with an employee, Charlie leaves for a weekend trip to Palm Springs with his girlfriend, Susanna.

Charlie's trip is spoiled by sudden news that his estranged father, Sanford Babbitt, has died. Charlie travels to Cincinnati, Ohio, to settle the estate, where he learns an undisclosed trustee is inheriting $3 million on behalf of an unnamed beneficiary, while he is to receive only a classic Buick Roadmaster convertible and several prize rose bushes. Eventually he learns the money is being directed to a mental institution, and he discovers that it is the home of his autistic brother, Raymond (Hoffman).

Raymond is an autistic savant, with superb recall but little understanding of subject matter. He is frightened by change and adheres to strict routines (for example, his continual repetition of the "Who's on First?" sketch). Except when he is in distress, he shows little emotional expression and does not give eye contact.

Numbed by learning that he has a brother and determined to get what he believes is his fair share of the Babbitt estate, Charlie takes Raymond on what becomes a cross-country trip back to Los Angeles to meet with his attorneys. He intends to start a custody battle in order to get Raymond's doctor, Dr. Bruner (Molen), to settle out of court for half of Sanford Babbitt's estate so that they can maintain custody of Raymond.

During the course of the journey, Charlie learns about Raymond's condition, which he initially believes is curable — resulting in frustration with his brother. He also learns about how his brother came to be separated from his family, as a result of an accident when he was left alone with Charlie when he was a baby. Sometimes shallow and exploitive, as when he learns that Raymond has an excellent memory and takes him to Las Vegas to win money at blackjack counting cards, Charlie nonetheless finds himself becoming protective towards Raymond.

Charlie finally meets with his attorneys to try to get his share of his inheritance, but then considers taking custody of Raymond. However, Raymond is unable to decide exactly what he wants (he would like Charlie to live with him at the residential facility in Cincinnati, which is not possible because of Charlie's job). Eventually, the attorneys press Raymond for a decisive answer, upsetting him and leading Charlie to tell the attorneys to back off.

Eventually, Raymond is allowed to go back home to Cincinnati. Charlie, who has gained a new brother and mellowed considerably, tells him he'll visit often.


Simon Birch

In the title role is 12-year-old Simon Birch (Ian Michael Smith), who is afflicted with Morquio syndrome, a genetic disorder which causes dwarfism. The story begins when Joe Wentworth, played by Jim Carrey, visits the grave of his childhood friend Simon Birch, whose gravestone is marked 1952-1964. Joe explains that Simon is "the reason I believe in God." This is followed by a flashback to their friendship during the early '60s.

In Gravestown, Maine, young Joe Wentworth, played by Joseph Mazzello, doesn't know who his father is, and his loving mother Rebecca (Ashley Judd) won't tell him. Joe's best buddy is young Simon Birch, born so tiny that his classmates pass him about like a "doll." Simon’s mother is shown in a flashback giving birth to him by merely sneezing, implying the labor was made so easy because of his diminutive stature. Upon seeing his infant son for the first time in the nursery and told he would not survive, Simon’s father writes him off thus beginning his lifetime of neglect. Ignored at home, Simon turns to Rebecca as a mother, and he often has dinner with the Wentworths.

The main plot hovers about the life of 12 year-old Joe who does not know who his father is. For some time he has been the butt of jokes and scorn in their small town, but his mother has not revealed her lover met years ago on the train. Life-long pal Simon, also 12 but with the eccentricities of someone much older, decides he will help Joe find his father. We are also informed of Simon's deep-seated belief that God put him here for a purpose, that because of his faith, Simon would cope with his dwarfism and overcome people's blindness. Simon would become a hero.

These two early adolescents quickly endear themselves to the viewer. Although their routine is typical - playing baseball, racing to the creek for a swim, discussing girls - the script (by Mark Steven Johnson) has them perform these growing up tasks with quirky originality. Simon's self-deprecating humor is especially charming. He one-ups Joe in physical comparisons, though he goes for the smaller instead of the superior. He accepts playing the Baby Jesus because he is the only student who will fit in the crib. And he rides in a wooden Coca-Cola crate rigged up as a sidecar to Joe's bike.

Part of Rebecca Wentworth’s importance is serving as Simon's surrogate mom, one who cares about the boy - unlike his real parents, who permit Simon to live with them but are otherwise uninvolved. Ben Goodrich, the drama teacher played by Oliver Platt, begins to date Rebecca. Joe initially resents him, and Ben tries to win the boy over with goofy gifts and behaviors. During a baseball game Simon is given his first chance at swinging the bat instead of standing at the plate waiting for the guaranteed walk and he gets his first hit of his life, a foul ball that strikes and kills Rebecca Wentworth. Joe does not hate Simon for this turn of events because he understands that Simon has also lost his mother figure in Rebecca, but Simon himself is wrought with severe guilt and begs God for forgiveness. Later that winter, Simon proves himself when he risks his life to save a bus full of children which has crashed into a freezing lake. After saving the children, Simon is sent to the hospital and later dies.

The film ends, bringing us back to the beginning where an older Joe Wentworth is looking at Simon's gravestone. He makes a comment to his son that Simon mentioned to him earlier in the movie and the film ends.


Mercury Rising

A cryptographic code called "Mercury" was created by the National Security Agency, so complex that its creators believe no computer on earth can decipher it. Originally created during the Reagan Administration as a test to keep the United States' highest priority secrets under wraps, their assumption is revealed to be false when they receive a message from an autistic savant boy named Simon Lynch (Miko Hughes) who calls a telephone number written in the code, which was secretly published in a puzzle magazine by two of the creators to see if anyone could break it. Colonel Kudrow (Alec Baldwin), perceiving the boy's ability to decipher the code as a liability, seeks to silence Simon; he sends a hit man to murder Simon and his family.

After killing the boy's parents, the assassin searches the house, fails to find Simon, and leaves at the sound of approaching sirens. Art Jeffries (Bruce Willis) is an undercover FBI agent who protects Simon. He finds Simon hiding in a cache of his bedroom closet and takes the boy under his wing. Jeffries begins to realize the difficulty of protecting, let alone questioning Simon, because of his impaired social abilities as a result of his autism. The situation is further complicated by the fact that nobody at the FBI believes Simon is in any danger, and Jeffries is soon painted by the NSA as a kidnapper.

Meanwhile, Colonel Kudrow, upset by disagreement over how to handle the case, murders one of his employees when he starts to reveal the Mercury plans to Jeffries. The murdered employee's friend turns to Jeffries for help; although he is shortly murdered too, he manages to leave crucial evidence of Kudrow's crimes. Jeffries and the few allies he has set a trap in which Kudrow is killed and the boy saved. The film ends with Jeffries visiting Simon at his school, who embraces him as a welcome, having accepted him as a person of his trust.


The Miracle Worker

Young Helen Keller, blind, deaf, and mute since infancy, is in danger of being sent to an institution. Her inability to communicate has left her frustrated and violent. In desperation, her parents seek help from the Perkins Institute, which sends them a "half-blind Yankee schoolgirl" named Annie Sullivan to tutor their daughter. Through persistence and love, and sheer stubbornness, Annie breaks through Helen's walls of silence and darkness and teaches her to communicate.

Forrest Gump

The film begins with a feather falling to the feet of Forrest Gump who is sitting at a bus stop in Savannah, Georgia. Forrest picks up the feather and puts it in the book Curious George, then tells the story of his life to a woman seated next to him. The listeners at the bus stop change regularly throughout his narration, each showing a different attitude ranging from disbelief and indifference to rapt veneration.

On his first day of school, he meets a girl named Jenny, whose life is followed in parallel to Forrest's at times. Having discarded his leg braces, his ability to run at lightning speed gets him into college on a football scholarship. After his college graduation, he enlists in the army and is sent to Vietnam, where he makes fast friends with a black man named Bubba, who convinces Forrest to go into the shrimping business with him when the war is over. Later while on patrol, Forrest's platoon is attacked. Though Forrest rescues many of the men, Bubba is killed in action. Forrest is awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his heroism.

While Forrest is in recovery for a bullet shot to his "butt-tox", he discovers his uncanny ability for ping-pong, eventually gaining popularity and rising to celebrity status, later playing ping-pong competitively against Chinese teams. At an anti-war rally in Washington, D.C. Forrest reunites with Jenny, who has been living a hippie counterculture lifestyle.

Returning home, Forrest endorses a company that makes ping-pong paddles, earning himself $25,000, which he uses to buy a shrimping boat, fulfilling his promise to Bubba. His commanding officer from Vietnam, Lieutenant Dan, joins him. Though initially Forrest has little success, after finding his boat the only surviving boat in the area after Hurricane Carmen, he begins to pull in huge amounts of shrimp and uses it to buy an entire fleet of shrimp boats. Lt. Dan invests the money in Apple Computer and Forrest is financially secure for the rest of his life. He returns home to see his mother's last days.

One day, Jenny returns to visit Forrest and he proposes marriage to her. She declines, though feels obliged to prove her love to him by sleeping with him. She leaves early the next morning. On a whim, Forrest elects to go for a run. Seemingly capriciously, he decides to keep running across the country several times, over some three and a half years, becoming famous.

In present-day, Forrest reveals that he is waiting at the bus stop because he received a letter from Jenny who, having seen him run on television, asks him to visit her. Once he is reunited with Jenny, Forrest discovers she has a young son, of whom Forrest is the father. Jenny tells Forrest she is suffering from a virus (probably HIV, though this is never definitively stated).[1][2][3] Together the three move back to Greenbow, Alabama. Jenny and Forrest finally marry. Jenny dies soon afterward.

The film ends with father and son waiting for the school bus on little Forrest's first day of school. Opening the book his son is taking to school, the white feather from the beginning of the movie is seen to fall from within the pages. As the bus pulls away, the white feather is caught on a breeze and drifts skyward.

Posted byDoc Junhel at 11:30 PM 0 comments  

Learning Disability

Mohit a 10 year old boy is a slow communicator. He uses a lot of gestures when talking and tries to avoid verbal communication. Cannot recall the names of objects, relate events or characteristics in a story. Is unable to answer questions based on a lesson that is read out to him. His responses are limited to three or four words.
Anjana cannot recognize simple 3 letter words. She omits vowels, reverses whole words (window as wodin) and confuses sounds. Wild guessing when reading and pays no attention to punctuation.
Anjali cannot complete the work in time. Makes several erasures, while copying sentences from the blackboard. Writing is almost illegible and no punctuation is used. Writing one page makes her feel tired and complains of fatigue. Her comprehension and oral responses exceed her written performance.
Nine-year old Harmeet confuses addition symbol with multiplication sign. Counts on her fingers. Borrows twice from the same digit. Forgets what step she is using. Cannot tell the time accurately.
Such problems are faced by us as teachers & parents very frequently and we react by getting irritated and scolding the child. Due to our ignorance we are unable to find the cause of the problem and are more an addition to the intensity of the problem. To the conceptual difficulties that students face we are as psychological deterrents towards the clarity of concepts. Is all this just lack of readiness as we perceive on the part of the children or lack of effort from us as teachers or something more than that. A look at almost newly coined word which is used as a cause of learning problems is an answer to all the above questions. The term is Learning Disability.
Learning Disability exhibits disorders in one or more of the psychological processes involved in understanding or in using spoken or written language. These disorders are manifested in considerable problem in listening, thinking, talking, reading, writing, spelling or arithmetic.

4 important dimensions of this disability
• Considerable problem in reading, writing, spoken language.
• Free from visual, hearing, motor, mental and emotional handicaps.
• Difference in ability and achievement.
• Adequate facilities, interests and motivation.

A look at different types of learning difficulties will give us a comprehensive view of this problem being faced by some of the children.
Dyslexia :
The term is used synonymously with Learning Disability. But Dyslexia is basically a reading disability. It is inability to read which indicates that there is something wrong with the child.
The important characteristics of this disability are cumulative. The characteristics can be used as identification indicators also.
• Slow rate of oral and silent reading.
• Inability to answer questions about what is read showing lack of comprehension.
• Inability to state the main topic of a simple paragraph or story.
• Lack of skill in using tools to locate information and such as index and table of the contents.
• Inability to follow simple printed instructions.
• Reading word by word.
• Lack of expression in oral reading
• Excessive lip movement in silent reading
• Vocalization in silent reading
• Lack of interest in reading
• Excessive physical activity while reading such as squirming
• Mispronunciation of words ---- gross mispronunciation showing lack of phonetic ability, minor mispronunciation due to failure to discriminate beginnings and endings, showing inability to attack unfamiliar words.
• Omission of letters
• Substitution of words / letters
• Insertion of words / letters
• Reversal of whole words due to difficulty in sequential memory
• Repetition of words / groups when reading orally
• Excessive number of regressive eye movements
• Excessive eye fixation

These characteristics can be seen first in accordance with letter identification, word recognition, sentences and then paragraphs.

• Dysgraphia :
It is a form of learning disability in which child exhibits extremely poor handwriting or the inability to perform motor movements required for handwriting.
The most important indicators of Dysgraphia are :
• Death grip on the pencil
• Incorrect pencil grip
• Awkward positioning of the body, bending too close • the paper
• Symptoms of premature muscle fatigue
• Avoidance of writing tasks
• Sparse written output inappropriate to a child's age, reading ability, verbal ability.
• Numerous eye fixations from far to near point during a copying task.
• Excessive number of erasures
• Frequent referral to an alphabet chart to check the formation of letters.
• Confusions in directional orientation such as mirror writing and reversals.
• Poor use of space as observed inc crawling or cramped writing, inadequate space between letters and words, inappropriate letter size relationships, and inability to stay within head and base lines.
• Poor letter connections and illegible letters
• Inaccuracies such as omissions, perseverations, lack of punctuation, line skipping
• Slow motor speed.
• Hesitation and difficulty in generating letters in a noncopying writing task, particularly capital letters
• Difficulty in keeping up with dictation tasks due to a breakdown in the integration process.

If many of these characteristics are observed, the teacher should collect handwriting samples using a series of structured tasks.

• Dyscalculia :
Dyscalculia is an arithmetic disability. It refers to difficulty in reading or writing isolated or a series of numerals, reading and writing numbers whose names are not written the way they are spoken and doing computational operations.
Following indicators are used as identification guidelines for a child suffering from dyscalculia :
• Problem in differentiating between sizes, shapes and quantities.
• Inability to do counting
• Inability to understand place value
• Difficulty with fundamental operations of addition, substraction, multiplication and division.
• No concept of fractions
• Difficulty in telling time
• No problem solving skills

What are the signs and symptoms that help one recognize whether a child is learning disabled or simply careless and inattentive?
Based on the frequency of occurrence the following ten characteristics have been identified as widely prevalent in individuals with learning disability.

1. Disorder of attention and hyperactivity.
Short attention span and lack of concentration have been found to be the most obvious qualities in LD's. But inattentiveness may be for difference reasons. LD's are inferior in selective attention and they cannot sustain attention or maintain attention till the task is completed.
Though hyperactivity is associated with learning disabled child very strongly but still the relationship is not clearly substantiated. The maximum number of following characteristics should be present for at least six months :
# fidgeting with hand or feet squirming in the seat
# difficulty remaining seated when required to do so
# easily distracted by extraneous stimuli
# difficulty awaiting turns in games or group situations
# blurts out answers even before the question has been completed
# difficulty following through on instructions from others
# difficulty in sustaining attention
# often shifting from one activity to another
# difficulty in playing quietly
# talk excessively
# interrupt or intrude on others
# does not seem to listen to what is being said
# loosing things necessary for tasks or activities
# engage in threatening activities without thinking about considerable possible consequences

2. Memory Disorders
Persons with learning disability are generally characterized by inefficient memory systems. The following characteristics are clearly observed in LD children :
# Difficulty in recalling visual material, specially the written word.
# Unable to use strategies for verbal rehearsal.
# Poor on tasks requiring auditory information.

3. Academic Characteristics
There is a little doubt that in the area of academic learning, children with learning disability are low achievers. They have problems in specific area of reading, writing and mathematics.

4. Social and Interpersonal Characteristics
Learning disabled children have poor social skills and are considered unattractive by their peers. Diffidence is another important characteristic of learning disabled children.
They fail to read the social cues and may misinterpret the reactions of other people. They lack role taking skills and find it difficult to adopt another's point of view. But not all learning disabled individuals have a problem, and grow up to be perfectly well-adapted adults.

5. Perceptual motor problems
Perception is the cognitive ability to receive and make sense of incoming stimuli. LD students suffer from perceptual deficit. The problems that such children observe are :
- Inability to concentrate on what is relevant and what is irrelevant.
- Inability to see things from another's perspective.
- bad eye-hand coordination due to which children face difficulty in tasks like buttoning, lacing, cutting, pasting, writing and also copying from the blackboard.

6. Auditory perception deficits
A LD child may have nothing wrong with hearing but still be unable to interpret what is heard. The child faces problem in
- Auditory discrimination, which is the ability to point similarities and differences between two sounds.
- Auditory blending, is the ability to blend or combine sounds to form words. (difficulty with blends like bl, sp, ch, gh, th)
- Difficulty in recalling correct sequence of letters in a word or words in a sentence.

7 Haptic perception.
A child explores the world around him by touching and manipulating objects and absorbing information pertaining to texture, pain, temperature, pressure and geometric features. Learning Disabled children have problem with kinesthia which includes bodily movement, coordination, body image, direction and spatial orientation. A child may be unable to write because he doesn't know how to move his hand and he cannot produce the up/down strokes required for writing.

8. Motor Deficiencies
Motor deficiencies include gross motor skills and fine motor skills.
Gross motor skills include activities such as walking, jumping, catching and so on. Teachers have observed many learning disabled children to be clumsy and awkward on the playground and unable to perform simple physical exercises such as toe-touching.
Fine motor skills are basic prerequisite for any kind of academic learning and they include activities involving eye and hand movements such as tracing, needlework, bead stringing, lacing, coloring or writing. Deficits in fine motor skills are usually associated with learning disability.

Posted byDoc Junhel at 10:40 PM 0 comments  

Difference between a person with Learning Disabiliy and a Slow Learner?




According to government regulations, students with learning disabilities have “disorders in one or more basic psychological processes involved in understanding or using language, spoken or written, which may manifest itself in an imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell or do mathematical calculations.”

However, it is often difficult, based on observed behaviors, to distinguish between slow learners and learning disabled persons. Basically, a student with LD has deficits in one or two areas while performing at or above the average in other areas. The child's potential or overall intelligence is greater than his/her poor achievement would predict. This is called the ability-achievement discrepancy. It is even possible for someone to have characteristics of both conditions.

Actual diagnosis of a learning disability can only be done by a trained professional – clinical psychologists, educational psychologists, some physicians, etc. There are a number of articles that give parents and teachers a better idea of what goes into making such a diagnosis. A few of the articles list typical signs of a possible learning disability; others list strategies that work well with LD students.

Posted byDoc Junhel at 10:36 PM 0 comments  

Helen Keller



Helen Adams Keller was born on 27 June 1880 in Tuscumbia, a small rural town in Northwest Alabama, USA. The daughter of Captain Arthur Henley Keller and Kate Adams Keller she was born with full sight and hearing.

Kate Keller was a tall, statuesque blond with blue eyes. She was some twenty years younger than her husband Captain Keller, a loyal southerner who had proudly served in the Confederate Army during the American Civil War.

The house they lived in was a simple, white, clapboard house built in 1820 by Helen’s grandparents. At the time of Helen’s birth the family were far from wealthy with Captain Keller earning a living as both a cotton plantation owner and the editor of a weekly local newspaper, the “North Alabamian”. Helen’s mother, as well as working on the plantation, would save money by making her own butter, lard, bacon and ham.

Helen falls ill

But Helen’s life was to change dramatically. In February 1882, when Helen was nineteen months old, she fell ill. To this day the nature of her ailment remains a mystery. The doctors of the time called it “brain fever”, whilst modern day doctors think it may have been scarlet fever or meningitis.

Whatever the illness, Helen was, for many days, expected to die. When, eventually, the fever subsided, Helen’s family rejoiced believing their daughter to be well again.

However, Helen’s mother soon noticed how her daughter was failing to respond when the dinner bell was rang or when she passed her hand in front of her daughter’s eyes.

It thus became apparent that Helen’s illness had left her both blind and deaf.

The following few years proved very hard for Helen and her family. Helen became a very difficult child, smashing dishes and lamps and terrorising the whole household with her screaming and temper tantrums. Relatives regarded her as a monster and thought she should be put into an institution.

By the time Helen was six her family had become desperate. Looking after Helen was proving too much for them. Kate Keller had read in Charles Dickens’ book “American Notes” of the fantastic work that had been done with another deaf and blind child, Laura Bridgman, and travelled to a specialist doctor in Baltimore for advice. They were given confirmation that Helen would never see or hear again but were told not to give up hope, the doctor believed Helen could be taught and he advised them to visit a local expert on the problems of deaf children. This expert was Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone, Bell was now concentrating on what he considered his true vocation, the teaching of deaf children.

Alexander Graham Bell suggested that the Kellers write to Michael Anagnos, director of the Perkins Institution and Massachusetts Asylum for the Blind, and request that he try and find a teacher for Helen. Michael Anagnos considered Helen’s case and immediately recommended a former pupil of the institution, that woman was Anne Sullivan.

Anne Sullivan

Anne Sullivan had lost the majority of her sight at the age of five. By the age of ten, her mother had died and her father deserted her. She and her brother Jimmie were sent to the poorhouse in February 1876.

Anne’s brother died in the poorhouse. It was October 1880 before Anne finally left and went to commence her education at the Perkins Institution. One summer during her time at the institute, Anne had two operations on her eyes, which led to her regaining enough sight to be able to read normal print for short periods of time.

Anne graduated from Perkins in 1886 and began to search for work. Finding work was terribly difficult for Anne, due to her poor eyesight, and when she received the offer from Michael Anagnos to work as the teacher of Helen Keller, a deaf-blind mute, although she had no experience in this area, she accepted willingly.

Helen meets Anne

On 3 March 1887 Anne arrived at the house in Tuscumbia and for the first time met Helen Keller. Anne immediately started teaching Helen to finger spell. Spelling out the word “Doll” to signify a present she had brought with her for Helen. The next word she taught Helen was “Cake”. Although Helen could repeat these finger movements she could not quite understand what they meant. And while Anne was struggling trying to help her understand, she was also struggling to try and control Helen’s continuing bad behaviour.

Anne and Helen moved into a small cottage on the land of the main house to try and get Helen to improve her behaviour. Of particular concern were Helen’s table manners. She had taken to eating with her hands and from the plates of everyone at the table.

Anne’s attempts to improve Helen’s table manners and make her brush her own hair and button her shoes led to more and more temper tantrums. Anne punished these tantrums by refusing to “talk” with Helen by spelling words on her hands.

Over the coming weeks, however, Helen’s behaviour did begin to improve as a bond grew between the two. Then, after a month of Anne’s teaching, what the people of the time called a “miracle” occurred.

Helen had until now not yet fully understood the meaning of words. When Anne led her to the water pump on 5 April 1887, all that was about to change.

As Anne pumped the water over Helen’s hand , Anne spelled out the word water in the girl’s free hand. Something about this explained the meaning of words within Helen, and Anne could immediately see in her face that she finally understood.

Helen later recounted the incident:

“We walked down the path to the well-house, attracted by the fragrance of the honey-suckle with which it was covered. Someone was drawing water and my teacher placed my hand under the spout. As the cool stream gushed over one hand she spelled into the other the word water, first slowly, then rapidly. I stood still, my whole attention fixed upon the motions of her fingers. Suddenly I felt a misty consciousness as of something forgotten, a thrill of returning thought, and somehow the mystery of language was revealed to me.”

Helen immediately asked Anne for the name of the pump to be spelt on her hand and then the name of the trellis. All the way back to the house Helen learned the name of everything she touched and also asked for Anne’s name. Anne spelled the name “Teacher” on Helen’s hand. Within the next few hours Helen learnt the spelling of thirty new words.

Helen’s progress from then on was astonishing. Her ability to learn was far in advance of anything that anybody had seen before in someone without sight or hearing. It wasn’t long before Anne was teaching Helen to read, firstly with raised letters and later with braille, and to write with both ordinary and braille typewriters.

Michael Anagnos was keen to promote Helen, one of the numerous articles on her that he wrote said of Helen that “she is a phenomenon”. These articles led to a wave of publicity about Helen with pictures of her reading Shakespeare or stroking her dog appearing in national newspapers.

Helen had become famous, and as well as again visiting Alexander Graham Bell, she visited President Cleveland at the White House. By 1890 she was living at the Perkins Institute and being taught by Anne. In March of that year Helen met Mary Swift Lamson who over the coming year was to try and teach Helen to speak. This was something that Helen desperately wanted and although she learned to understand what somebody else was saying by touching their lips and throat, her efforts to speak herself proved at this stage to be unsuccessful. This was later attributed to the fact that Helen’s vocal chords were not properly trained prior to her being taught to speak.

The Frost King

On 4 November 1891 Helen sent Michael Anagnos a birthday gift of a short story she had written called “The Frost King”. Anagnos was so delighted with the story that he had soon published it in a magazine hailing its importance in literary history.

However, it was soon discovered that Helen’s story was the same as one called “The Frost Fairies” by Margaret Canby. This was ultimately to be the end of Helen and Anne’s friendship with Michael Anagnos. He felt he had been made to appear foolish by what he considered to be Helen’s deception.

There had to be an investigation and it was discovered that Helen had previously been read the story some years before and had obviously remembered it. Helen always claimed not to recall the original story and it should always be remembered that Helen was still only 11 years old, however, this incident created a rift that would never heal between Helen, Anne and Anagnos. It also created great doubt in Helen’s own mind as to whether any of her thoughts were truly her own.

In 1894 Helen and Anne met John D Wright and Dr Thomas Humason who were planning to set up a school to teach speech to the deaf in New York City. Helen and Anne were very excited by this and the assurances of the two men that Helen’s speech could be improved excited them further. Helen thus agreed to attend the Wright-Humason School for the Deaf.

Unfortunately though, Helen’s speech never really improved beyond the sounds that only Anne and others very close to her could understand.

Helen enters Radcliffe College

Helen moved on to the Cambridge School for Young Ladies in 1896 and in the Autumn of 1900 entered Radcliffe College, becoming the first deafblind person to have ever enrolled at an institution of higher learning.

Life at Radcliffe was very difficult for Helen and Anne, and the huge amount of work involved led to deterioration in Anne’s eyesight. During their time at the College Helen began to write about her life. She would write the story both in braille and on a normal typewriter. It was at this time that Helen and Anne met with John Albert Macy who was to help edit Helen’s first book “The Story of My Life” which was published in 1903 and although it sold poorly at first it has since become a classic.

On 28 June 1904 Helen graduated from Radcliffe College, becoming the first deafblind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree.

John Macy became good friends with Helen and Anne, and in May 1905 John and Anne were married. Anne’s name now changed to Anne Sullivan Macy. The three lived together in Wrentham, Massachusetts, and during this time Helen wrote “The World I Live In”, revealing for the first time her thoughts on her world. It was also during this time that John Macy introduced her to a new and revolutionary way of viewing the world. And in 1909 Helen became a member of the Socialist Party of Massachusetts.

In 1913 “Out of the Dark” was published. This was a series of essays on socialism and its impact on Helen’s public image was immense. Everyone now knew Helen’s political views.

Helen tours the World

Helen and Anne filled the following years with lecture tours, speaking of her experiences and beliefs to enthralled crowds. Her talks were interpreted sentence by sentence by Anne Sullivan, and were followed by question and answer sessions.

Although Helen and Anne made a good living from their lectures, by 1918 the demand for Helen’s lectures had diminished and they were touring with a more light-hearted vaudeville show, which demonstrated Helen’s first understanding of the word “water”. These shows were hugely successful from the very first performance, a review of which read as follows:

“Helen Keller has conquered again, and the Monday afternoon audience at the Palace, one of the most critical and cynical in the World, was hers.”

At this time they were also offered the chance to make a film in Hollywood and they jumped at the opportunity. “Deliverance”, the story of Helen’s life, was made. Helen was, however, unhappy with the glamorous nature of the film and it unfortunately did not prove to be the financial success that they had hoped for.

The vaudeville appearances continued with Helen answering a wide range of questions on her life and her politics and Anne translating Helen’s answers for the enthralled audience. They were earning up to two thousand dollars a week, which was a considerable sum of money at the time.

In 1918 Helen, Anne and John moved to Forest Hills in New York. Helen used their new home as a base for her extensive fundraising tours for the American Foundation for the Blind. She not only collected money, but also campaigned tirelessly to alleviate the living and working conditions of blind people, who at that time were usually badly educated and living in asylums. Her endeavours were a major factor in changing these conditions.

Helen’s mother Kate died in 1921 from an unknown illness, and this left Anne as the sole constant in Helen’s life. However that same year Anne fell ill again and this was followed in 1922 by a severe bout of bronchitis which left her unable to speak above a whisper and thus unable to work with Helen on stage anymore. At this point Polly Thomson, who had started working for Helen and Anne in 1914 as a secretary, took on the role of explaining Helen to the theatre going public.

They also spent a lot of time touring the world raising money for blind people. In 1931 they met King George and Queen Mary at Buckingham Palace, who were said to be deeply impressed by Helen’s ability to understand what people said through touch.

All the while Anne’s health was getting worse, and with the news of the death of John Macy in 1932, although their marriage had broken up some years before, her spirit was finally broken. She died on 20 October 1936.

When Anne died, Helen and Polly moved to Arcan Ridge, in Westport, Connecticut, which would be Helen’s home for the rest of her life.

After World War II, Helen and Polly spent years travelling the world fundraising for the American Foundation for the Overseas Blind. They visited Japan, Australia, South America, Europe and Africa.

Whilst away during this time Helen and Polly learnt of the fire that destroyed their home at Arcan Ridge. Although the house would be rebuilt, as well as the many mementoes that Helen and Polly lost, also destroyed was the latest book that Helen had been working on about Anne Sullivan, called “Teacher”.

It was also during this time that Polly Thomson’s health began to deteriorate and whilst in Japan she had a mild stroke. Doctors advised Polly to stop the continuous touring she and Helen did, and although initially they slowed down a bit, the touring continued once Polly had recovered.

In 1953 a documentary film “The Unconquered” was made about Helen’s life, this was to win an Academy Award as the best feature length documentary .It was at the same time that Helen began work again on her book “Teacher”, some seven years after the original had been destroyed. The book was finally published in 1955.

Polly Thomson had a stroke in 1957, she was never to fully recover and died on March 21, 1960. Her ashes were deposited at the National Cathedral in Washington DC next to those of Anne Sullivan. It was the nurse who had been brought in to care for Polly in her last years, Winnie Corbally, who was to take care of Helen in her remaining years.

The Miracle Worker

It was in 1957 that “The Miracle Worker” was first performed. A drama portraying Anne Sullivan’s first success in communicating with Helen as a child, it first appeared as a live television play in the United States.

In 1959 it was re-written as a Broadway play and opened to rave reviews. It became a smash hit and ran for almost two years. In 1962 it was made into a film and the actresses playing Anne and Helen both received Oscars for their performances.

Helen retires from public life

In October 1961 Helen suffered the first of a series of strokes, and her public life was to draw to a close. She was to spend her remaining years being cared for at her home in Arcan Ridge.

Her last years were not however without excitement, and in 1964 Helen was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award, by President Lyndon Johnson. A year later she was elected to the Women’s Hall of Fame at the New York World’s Fair.

On June 1, 1968, at Arcan Ridge, Helen Keller died peacefully in her sleep. Helen was cremated in Bridgeport, Connecticut and a funeral service was held at the National Cathedral in Washington DC where the urn containing her ashes would later be deposited next to those of Anne Sullivan and Polly Thomson.

Helen’s legacy

Today Helen’s final resting place is a popular tourist attraction and the bronze plaque erected to commemorate her life has the following inscription written in braille:

“Helen Keller and her beloved companion Anne Sullivan Macy are interred in the columbarium behind this chapel.”

So many people have visited the chapel, and touched the braille dots, that the plaque has already had to be replaced twice.

If Helen Keller were born today her life would undoubtedly have been completely different. Her life long dream was to be able to talk, something that she was never really able to master. Today the teaching methods exist that would have helped Helen to realise this dream. What would Helen have made of the technology available today to blind and deafblind individuals? Technology that enables blind and deafblind people, like Helen, to communicate directly, and independently, with anybody in the world.

Helen Keller may not have been directly responsible for the development of these technologies and teaching methods. But with the help of Anne Sullivan, through her writings, lectures and the way she lived her life, she has shown millions of people that disability need not be the end of the world.

In Helen’s own words:

“The public must learn that the blind man is neither genius nor a freak nor an idiot. He has a mind that can be educated, a hand which can be trained, ambitions which it is right for him to strive to realise, and it is the duty of the public to help him make the best of himself so that he can win light through work.”

Posted byDoc Junhel at 10:29 PM 0 comments  

History of Special Education




History of Special Education
Special education, as its name suggests, is a specialized branch of education.
Claiming lineage to such persons as Jean-Marc-Gaspard Itard (1775 - 1838),
the physician who "tamed" the "wild boy of Aveyron," and Anne Sullivan Macy
(1866 - 1936), the teacher who "worked miracles" with Helen Keller, special
educators teach those students who have physical, cognitive, language, learning,
sensory, and/or emotional abilities that deviate from those of the general population.
Special educators provide instruction specifically tailored to meet individualized
needs, making education available to students who otherwise would have limited
access to education. In 2001, special education in the
United States was serving
over five million students.
 
Although federally mandated special education is relatively new in the United States,
students with disabilities have been present in every era and in every society.
Historical records have consistently documented the most severe disabilities -
those that transcend task and setting. Itard's description of the wild boy of Aveyron
documents a variety of behaviors consistent with both mental retardation and behavioral
disorders. Nineteenth-century reports of deviant behavior describe conditions that could
easily be interpreted as severe mental retardation, autism, or schizophrenia. Milder forms
of disability became apparent only after the advent of universal public education. When
literacy became a goal for all children, teachers began observing disabilities specific to
task and setting - that is, less severe disabilities. After decades of research and legislation,
special education now provides services to students with varying degrees and forms of
disabilities, including mental retardation, emotional disturbance, learning disabilities,
speech-language (communication) disabilities, impaired hearing and deafness,
low vision and blindness, autism, traumatic brain injury, other health impairments,
and severe and multiple disabilities.
 
Development of the Field of Special Education
 
At its inception in the early nineteenth century, leaders of social change set out
to cure many ills of society. Physicians and clergy, including Itard, Edouard O.
Seguin (1812 - 1880), Samuel Gridley Howe (1801 - 1876), and Thomas Hopkins
Gallaudet (1787 - 1851), wanted to ameliorate the neglectful, often abusive treatment of
individuals with disabilities. A rich literature describes the treatment provided to individuals
with disabilities in the 1800s: They were often confined in jails and almshouses without
decent food, clothing, personal hygiene, and exercise. During much of the nineteenth
century, and early in the twentieth, professionals believed individuals with disabilities were
best treated in residential facilities in rural environments. Advocates of these institutions
argued that environmental conditions such as urban poverty and vices induced behavioral
problems. Reformers such as Dorothea Dix (1802 - 1887) prevailed upon state governments
to provide funds for bigger and more specialized institutions. These facilities focused more
on a particular disability, such as mental retardation, then known as "feeble-mindedness"
or "idiocy"; mental illness, then labeled "insanity" or "madness"; sensory impairment such
as deafness or blindness; and behavioral disorders such as criminality and juvenile
delinquency. Children who were judged to be delinquent or aggressive, but not insane,
were sent to houses ofrefuge or reform schools, whereas children and adults judged to
be "mad" were admitted to psychiatric hospitals. Dix and her followers believed that
institutionalization of individuals with disabilities would end their abuse (confinement
without treatment in jails and poorhouses) and provide effective treatment. Moral treatment
was the dominant approach of the early nineteenth century in psychiatric hospitals, the
aim being cure. Moral treatment employed methods analogous to today's occupational
therapy, systematic instruction, and positive reinforcement. Evidence suggests this
approach was humane and effective in some cases, but the treatment was generally
abandoned by the late nineteenth century, due largely to the failure of moral therapists to
train others in their techniques and the rise of the belief that mental illness was always a
result of brain disease.
 
By the end of the nineteenth century, pessimism about cure and emphasis on physiological
causes led to a change in orientation that would later bring about the "warehouse-like"
institutions that have become a symbol for abuse and neglect of society's most vulnerable
citizens. The practice of moral treatment was replaced by the belief that most disabilities
were incurable. This led to keeping individuals with disabilities ininstitutions both for their
own protection and for the betterment of society. Although the transformation took many
years, by the end of the nineteenth century the size of institutions had increased so dramatically
that the goal of rehabilitation was no longer possible. Institutions became instruments for
permanent segregation. Many special education professionals became critics of institutions.
Howe, one of the first to argue for in stitutions for people with disabilities, began advocating
placing out residents into families. Unfortunately this practice became a logistical and pragmatic
problem before it could become a viable alternative to institutionalization.
 
At the close of the nineteenth century, state governments established juvenile courts and
social welfare programs, including foster homes, for children and adolescents. The child study
movement became prominent in the early twentieth century. Using the approach pioneered
by G. Stanley Hall (1844 - 1924; considered the founder of child psychology), researchers
attempted to study child development scientifically in relation to education and in so doing
established a place for psychology within public schools. In 1931, the
Bradley Home, the first
psychiatric hospital for children in the
United States, was established in East Providence, Rhode
Island
. The treatment offered in this hospital, as well as most of the other hospitals of the early
twentieth century, was psychodynamic. Psychodynamic ideas fanned interest in the diagnosis
and classification of disabili ties. In 1951 the first institution for research on exceptional children
opened at the
University of Illinois and began what was to become the newest focus of the field
of special education: the slow learner and, eventually, what we know today as learning disability.
 
The Development of Special Education in Institutions and Schools
 
Although Itard failed to normalize Victor, the wild boy of Averyon, he did produce
dramatic changes in Victor's behavior through education. Modern special education practices
can be traced to Itard, and his work marks the beginning of widespread attempts to instruct
students with disabilities. In 1817 the first special education school in the United States, the American
Asylum for the Education and Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb (now called the American School
for the Deaf), was established in Hartford, Connecticut, by Gallaudet. By the middle of the nineteenth
century, special educational programs were being provided in many asylums. Education was a
prominent part of moral therapy. By the close of the nineteenth century, special classes within regular
public schools had been launched in major cities. These special classes were initially established
for immigrant students who were not proficient in English and students who had mild mental
retardation or behavioral disorders. Descriptions of these children included terms such as steamer
children, backward, truant, and incorrigible. Procedures for identifying "defectives" were included in the
World's Fair of 1904. By the 1920s special classes for students judged unsuitable for regular classes
had become common in major cities.
 
In 1840 Rhode Island passed a law mandating compulsory education for children, but not all states
had compulsory education until 1918. With compulsory schooling and the swelling tide of anti-institution
sentiment in the twentieth century, many children with disabilities were moved out of institutional
settings and into public schools. However, by the mid-twentieth century children with disabilities
were still often excluded from public schools and kept at home if not institutionalized. In order to
respond to the new population of students with special needs entering schools, school officials
created still more special classes in public schools.
 
The number of special classes and complementary support services (assistance given to teachers in
managing behavior and learning problems) increased dramatically after World War II. During the early
1900s there was also an increased attention to mental health and a consequent interest in establishing
child guidance clinics. By 1930 child guidance clinics and counseling services were relatively common
features of major cities, and by 1950 special education had become an identifiable part of urban public
education in nearly every school district. By 1960 special educators were instructing their students in
a continuum of settings that included hospital schools for those with the most severe disabilities,
specialized day schools for students with severe disabilities who were able to live at home, and special
classes in regular public schools for students whose disabilities could be managed in small groups.
During this period special educators also began to take on the role of consultant, assisting other teachers
in instructing students with disabilities. Thus, by 1970 the field of special education was offering a variety
of educational placements to students with varying disabilities and needs; however, public schools were
not yet required to educate all students regardless of their disabilities.
 
During the middle decades of the twentieth century, instruction of children with disabilities often was based
on process training - which involves attempts to improve children's academic performance by teaching them
cognitive or motor processes, such as perceptualmotor skills, visual memory, auditory memory, or
auditory-vocal processing. These are ancient ideas that found twentieth-century proponents. Process
training enthusiasts taught children various perceptual skills (e.g., identifying different sounds or objects
by touch) or perceptual motor skills (e.g., balancing) with the notion that fluency in these skills would
generalize to reading, writing, arithmetic, and other basic academic tasks. After many years of research,
however, such training was shown not to be effective in improving academic skills. Many of these same
ideas were recycled in the late twentieth century as learning styles, multiple intelligences, and other
notions that the underlying process of learning varies with gender, ethnicity, or other physiological
differences. None of these theories has found much support in reliable research, although direct instruction,
mnemonic (memory) devices, and a few other instructional strategies have been supported reliably by research.
 
The History of Legislation in Special Education
 
Although many contend that special education was born with the passage of the Education for All Handicapped
Children Act (EAHCA) in 1975, it is clear that special educators were beginning to respond to the needs
of children with disabilities in public schools nearly a century earlier. It is also clear that EAHCA did not
spring from a vacuum. This landmark law naturally evolved from events in both special education and the
larger society and came about in large part due to the work of grass roots organizations composed of
both parents and professionals. These groups dated back to the 1870s, when the American Association of
Instructors of the Blind and the American Association on Mental Deficiency (the latter is now the American
Association on Mental Retardation) were formed. In 1922 the Council for Exceptional Children, now the
major professional organization of special educators, was organized. In the 1930s and 1940s parent groups
began to band together on a national level. These groups worked to make changes in their own communities
and, consequently, set the stage for changes on a national level. Two of the most influential parent advocacy
groups were the National Association for Retarded Citizens (now ARC/USA), organized in 1950, and the
Association for Children with Learning Disabilities, organized in 1963.
 
Throughout the first half of the twentieth century, advocacy groups were securing local ordinances that
would protect and serve individuals with disabilities in their communities. For example, in 1930, in Peoria,
Illinois, the first white cane ordinance gave individuals with blindness the right-of-way when crossing the street.
By mid-century all states had legislation providing for education of students with disabilities. However,
legislation was still noncompulsory. In the late 1950s federal money was allocated for educating children
with disabilities and for the training of special educators. Thus the federal government became formally
involved in research and in training special education professionals, but limited its involvement to these
functions until the 1970s. In 1971, this support was reinforced and extended to the state level when the
Pennsylvania Association for Retarded Children (PARC) filed a class action suit against their Commonwealth.
This suit, resolved by consent agreement, specified that all children age six through twenty-one were to be
provided free public education in the least restrictive alternative (LRA, which would later become the least
restrictive environment [LRE] clause in EAHCA). In 1973 the Rehabilitation Act prohibited discriminatory
practices in programs receiving federal financial assistance but imposed no affirmative obligations with
respect to special education.
 
In 1975 the legal action begun under the Kennedy and Johnson administrations resulted in EAHCA,
which was signed into law by President Gerald Ford. EAHCA reached full implementation in 1977
and required school districts to provide free and appropriate education to all of their students with disabilities.
In return for federal funding, each state was to ensure that students with disabilities received non-discriminatory
testing, evaluation, and placement; the right to due process; education in the least restrictive environment;
and a free and appropriate education. The centerpiece of this public law (known since 1990 as the Individuals
with Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA) was, and is, a free appropriate public education (FAPE). To ensure
FAPE, the law mandated that each student receiving special education receive an Individualized Education
Program (IEP). Under EAHCA, students with identified disabilities were to receive FAPE and an IEP that
included relevant instructional goals and objectives, specifications as to length of school year, determination
of the most appropriate educational placement, and descriptions of criteria to be used in evaluation and
measurement. The IEP was designed to ensure that all students with disabilities received educational
programs specific to their "unique" needs. Thus, the education of students with disabilities became
federally controlled. In the 1982 case of Board of Education of the Hendrick Hudson Central School
District v. Rowley, the U.S. Supreme Court clarified the level of services to be afforded students with
special needs and ruled that special education services need only provide some "educational benefit"
to students - public schools were not required to maximize the educational progress of students with
disabilities. In so doing the Supreme Court further defined what was meant by a free and appropriate
education. In 1990 EAHCA was amended to include a change to person-first language, replacing the
term handicapped student with student with disabilities. The 1990 amendments also added new classification
categories for students with autism and traumatic brain injury and transition plans within IEPs for
students age fourteen or older. In 1997, IDEA was reauthorized under President Clinton and amended to
require the inclusion of students with disabilities in statewide and districtwide assessments, measurable
IEP goals and objectives, and functional behavioral assessment and behavior intervention plans for students
with emotional or behavioral needs. Because IDEA is amended and reauthorized every few years,
it is impossible to predict the future of this law. It is possible that it will be repealed or altered dramatically
by a future Congress. The special education story, both past and future, can be written in many different ways.
 
Trends in Special Education
 
Researchers have conceptualized the history of special education in stages that highlight the various
trends that the field has experienced. Although some of these conceptualizations focus on changes
involving instructional interventions for students with disabilities, others focus on the place of interventions.
The focus on placement reflects the controversy in which the field of special education has found itself
throughout history. Samuel G. Howe was one of the first to assert - in the nineteenth century - that
instructional settings had inherent qualities that alone insured effective interventions. Belief in the
essential curative powers of place spurred the late nineteenth century crusade for bigger and better
institutions, as well as the mid-twentieth-century movement for deinstitutionalization. Exclusive focus
on the importance of place distracted many professionals and prevented them from recognizing that
dramatic changes in philosophy were accompanying the movement for deinstitutionalization. In the late
nineteenth century, social Darwinism replaced environmentalism as the primary causal explanation
for those individuals with abilities who deviated from those of the general population, opening the door
to the eugenics movement of the early twentieth century, and leading to the segregation and sterilization
of individuals with mental retardation. At the beginning of the twentieth century, the debate had suddenly
shifted from whether the disadvantaged should be helped to where these individuals should be served.
As the institutionalization versus deinstitutionalization debate raged, many individuals were given custodial
treatment, which is contrary to the mission of special education.
 
Almost a century after the placement debate began, special educators still focused on the importance
of place. Many were calling upon the field to create not one perfect setting for the delivery of services,
but a continuum of placement options that would address the needs of all students with disabilities.
The civil rights movement had reconceptualized special education as a case of access of minorities
to the educational privileges of the majority, and the least restrictive environment clause of EAHCA/IDEA
prompted advocates for people with disabilities to call for mainstreaming - the return of students with
disabilities to the regular classroom whenever and wherever possible. In the 1980s the Regular Education
Initiative (REI) was an attempt to return responsibility for the education of students with disabilities to
neighborhood schools and regular classroom teachers. In the 1990s the full inclusion movement called
for educating all students with disabilities in the regular classroom with a single, unified and responsive
education system. Advocates for full inclusion, following in the footsteps of Howe, argued for appropriate
instruction in a single, ubiquitous place, contrary to the mandate of IDEA.
 
Controversial Issues in Special Education
 
Special education has been the target of criticism throughout history. Some of the criticism has been
justified, some unjustified. Some criticisms brought to light ineffective practices, such as the inefficacy
and inhumanity of relegating all persons with disabilities to institutions. Other criticisms were distractions
with disastrous repercussions, such as the singular focus on the importance of place while ignoring other
inappropriate practices. The beginning of the twenty-first century found new criticisms being launched at
special education. Some argue that the use of diagnostic labels is potentially stigmatizing to students,
others that minority students are overrepresented in some disability categories, and still others that education
of students with disabilities in special classes and schools, even pulling students out for instruction in resource
classes, is akin to race-based segregation. Some of these criticisms may expose ineffective practices,
others may only distract educators from the effort of finding and implementing effective instructional practices.
Professionals must develop the ability to learn from history and differentiate between unimportant criticisms
and those with merit.
 
One valid criticism repeatedly launched against special education involves the implementation of ineffective
educational interventions. Although great concern about the where of instruction was expressed in the 1980s
and 1990s, little attention was given to the what of instruction. Throughout the twentieth century the field of
special education repeatedly adopted instructional strategies of questionable efficacy - interventions that have
little to no empirical basis. Additionally, special educators have adopted, with "bandwagon" fervor, many
practices that have been proven ineffective and have thereby repeated the mistakes of history. If special
education is to progress, professionals will need to address and remedy the instructional practices used
with students with disabilities.
 
Special education has also been validly criticized for the way in which students with disabilities are identified.
In the early nineteenth century, physicians and educators had difficulty making reliable distinctions between
different disability categories. In fact, the categories of mental retardation and behavioral disorders are
inseparably intertwined. Many of the disability categories overlap to the extent that it is hard to differentiate
one from the other. Additionally, some of the categories - learning disabilities and behavioral disorders,
for example - are defined by the exclusion of other contributing disabilities. Thus, at the beginning of the
twenty-first century, much work remains on the identification of students with disabilities.
 
Perhaps the largest, most pervasive issue in special education is its relationship to general education.
The relationship of special to general education has been controversial since the beginning of universal
public schooling. However, in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, the question of whether
special education should retain a separate identity or be fused with general education such that it has no
separate identity (e.g., budget, personnel) was made prominent by proponents of a radical restructuring of
special education. Proponents of radical restructuring and fusion argue that such integration is necessary to
provide appropriate education for all students regardless of their disabilities and without stigma or discrimination.
In their view, special education suffers primarily from structural problems, and the integration of two separate
systems will result in a flexible, supple, responsive single system that will meet the needs of all students without
"separating out" any. All teachers, according to this line of thinking, should be prepared to teach all students,
including those with special needs.
 
Opponents of radical restructuring argue that special education's problems are primarily the lack of
implementation of best practices, not structural. Moreover, they suggest, special education will not survive
to serve the special needs of exceptional students if it loses its identity, including special budget allocations
and personnel preparation. It is not feasible nor is it desirable, they contend, to prepare all teachers to teach
all children; special training is required to teach students who are educationally exceptional. Arguments
about the structure of education (special and general), who (if anyone) should receive special treatment,
how they should be taught, and where special services should be provided are perpetual issues in special
education. These issues will likely continue to be debated throughout the twenty-first century.
 
In the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, another issue became the basis for conceptual or
theoretical bases for special education practices. Postmodern and antiscientific philosophies have been
put forward in both general and special education. These ideas have been challenged by others who have
noted the importance of the scientific method in discriminating among ideas and assertions. Likely, postmodern
ideas and attempts to apply them to or refute them will be perpetual.
 
More than two hundred years after Itard began his work on the education of the wild boy of Aveyron,
special educators are being asked to make decisions concerning such issues as placement and delivery
of services. The inclusion debate, although important, has the potential to distract the field of special
education away from issues of greater import - issues such as the efficacy of intervention and the accurate
identification of students with disabilities. If special educators are to avoid the mistakes of the past, they
will need to make future decisions based upon reliable data, evaluating the efficacy of differing options.
Since the inception of what is now known as IDEA, significant progress has been made in applying
scientific research to the problems of special education. In the twenty-first century, special education
need not remain a field of good intentions, but can fully employ the scientific child-study techniques
begun in the late eighteenth century to provide free and appropriate educations to all children with disabilities.

Posted byDoc Junhel at 1:56 AM 0 comments  

SPED 101 Reporting Schedule

SPED 101: INTRODUCTION TO SPECIAL EDUCATION

INDIVIDUAL REPORTING PLAN

(FIRST SEMESTER SY 2008-2009)

ROUND 1

Date

Topic

Reporter

I. Special Education and its Categories

D. Ventura, jr.

July

5

II. Special Education in the Philippines

1 SALIMBANGON, Armi

2 SAYSON, Yolanda C.

July 12

III. Biological and Environmental Causes of Developmental Disabilities

(include to discuss Human growth and development)

3 AMOS, Diana Marie

4 REBUSQUILLO, Denisa Myla

5 ARTEZUELA, Celso Carmel

July

19

IV. Historical Theories

V. Legal Theories

6 DALANON, Junhel

7 GONZALEZ, Jane

8 ABAPO, Virginia Lafayette

July 26

VI. Medical Theories of Special Education

VII. Ethical Theories of Special Education

9 SALANGA, Mahlou

10 GENOSA, CrIstina

Aug

2

VIII. Sociological Theories of Special Education

11 VILLALBA, Roxanne

12 AMORES, Cyre Lauren

IX. Psychological Theories of Special Education

13 PUJANTE, Lindy

14 CABRAL, Fritz Oliver

Aug

9

Components of SPED (PART 1)

A. IDEA, FAPE, NCLB, LRE

B. Assessment and Identification

C. Placement Programs

D. Mainstreaming and Inclusion

15 TAN, Joy

16 DIAMOS, Carmelita

17 ROLDAN, Maclyn

18 ABAPO, Sheina Kaye V.

Aug

16

Managing students with ADHD and Obstructive Compulsive Disorders

19


ROUND 2

Date

Topic

Reporter

Aug

16

Autism

1 GENOSA, CrIstina

2 SALIMBANGON, Armi

Developmental Delay /Mental Retardation

3 SAYSON, Yolanda C.

Aug

23

Specific Learning Disabilities

Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, Dysgraphia

Speech/Language Impairments

4 VILLALBA, Roxanne

5 CABRAL, Fritz Oliver

6 SALANGA, Mahlou

Aug

30

Hearing Impairments

Deafness

7 ARTEZUELA, Celso Carmel

8 REBUSQUILLO, Denisa Myla

Sept

6

Visual Impairments (including Blindness)

Deaf/Blindness

9 ABAPO, Virginia Lafayette

10 AMORES, Cyre Lauren

Sept 13

Traumatic Brain Injury

11 DALANON, Junhel

Orthopedic disabilities

12 GONZALEZ, Jane

Other Health Impairments

13 TAN, Joy

Sept

20

Serious Emotional/Behavioral Disorders

14 PUJANTE, Lindy

Multiple disabilities

15 DIAMOS, Carmelita

The Gifted and Talented

(Multiple Intelligence)

16 AMOS, Diana Marie

Sept 27

Components of SPED (PART 2)

E. Individual Educational Plan (IEP)

F. The IEP Process IDEA

17 ROLDAN, Maclyn

18 ABAPO, Sheina Kaye V.

Sample Lesson for Special Children

19

Posted byDoc Junhel at 1:29 AM 0 comments  

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