Friday, July 09, 2004

Educating Children Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing: Inclusion

Educating Children Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing: Inclusion. This essay has a radical idea. Let's educate deaf children in the smae classes as hearing children. I am sure this can work sometimes.

From the site:

The "inclusion" of students who are deaf refers to their being educated within a classroom of students with normal hearing. Inclusion differs from "mainstreaming" in that mainstreaming may refer to a variety of degrees of contact with hearing students, whereas in inclusion, the student who is deaf is actually placed in a classroom with hearing students. Inclusion may involve an assortment of services including interpreters, notetakers, teacher aides, teachers of students who are deaf, and consultants, but these services are provided within the context of the regular classroom.

Before 1975, although there had been attempts to educate students who were deaf in regular schools, about 80% of students who were deaf in the United States were being served in special schools (Cohen, 1995). This changed with the passage that year of PL 94-142. The "Education of All Handicapped Children" act called for all children to be educated as appropriate in the "least restrictive environment" (LRE), which meant to the greatest extent possible with their "non-handicapped" peers. Although the law resulted in some students who were deaf being educated in the regular classroom, many students with hearing losses were put in self-contained classrooms or resource rooms within regular schools and had contact with hearing students only during non- academic activities. In 1995, more than 60% of students who were deaf were educated in the regular public schools (Cohen, 1995), although it is not clear how many were in being served in a true "inclusion" model.

Inclusion emerged from the Regular Education Initiative (REI) of the 1970s and 1980s and the modification of PL 94-142, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) of 1990. The application of inclusion to the student who is deaf has been a source of ongoing debate, particularly as to how to interpret "least restrictive environment."

Two general positions have emerged from the debate on inclusion. One position is that all students with disabilities have the right to go to school with their non-disabled peers. The other position is usually labeled "full inclusion" and is stronger in its position that all students with disabilities should go to regular schools. The first position is consistent with the range of placements which emerged from PL 94-142 and IDEA, while the latter position is generally consistent with the eradication of all "special education," including the closing of special schools for students who are deaf.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Technology Professional Development: A Case Study

Technology Professional Development: A Case Study All of use elementary school teachers and librarians need professional development on a regular basis. This is particularly true with computers. Why give us these pricey toys if we don't know how to teach with them?

From the site:

This study examined the outcomes of a technology professional development initiative for elementary teachers. The professional development model used cohort collaboration, multiple strategies, and job embedded experiences to help teachers incorporate technology into their practice. Five sources of evidence, surveys from administrators and teachers, as well as interviews from teachers, computer aides and the staff developer were used to examine outcomes. The evidence identified a change in teacher practice and belief that included an increase in the self-reported frequency of the use of technology, the use of computers for research and project-based learning, and the Internet for instruction. The changes identified were consistent with the Phases of Instructional Change (Sandholtz, Ringstaff, & Dwyer, 1992).

Monday, July 05, 2004

Autism and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Autism and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Back when I was in college, none of my teacher ed professors ever mentioned anything about autism. Now, it seems like a couple of kids in my school get diagnosed with this every year. Is it more common now? Or are we just more aware of it?

From the site:

Autism is a developmental disability that affects a person's ability to communicate, understand language, play, and interact with others. Autism is a behavioral syndrome, which means that its definition is based on patterns of behaviors that a person exhibits. Autism is not an illness or a disease. It is not contagious and, as far as we know, it is not acquired through contact with the environment. Autism is a neurological disability that is presumed to be present from birth and is always apparent before the age of three. Although autism affects the functioning of the brain, the specific cause of autism is unknown. In fact, it is widely assumed that there are most likely multiple causes, each of which may be manifested in different forms, or subtypes, of autism. Future research will help us understand the etiologies of autism.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is an increasingly popular term that refers to a broad definition of autism including the classical form of the disorder as well as closely related disabilities that share many of the core characteristics. ASD includes the following diagnoses and classifications: (1) Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS), which refers to a collection of features that resemble autism but may not be as severe or extensive; (2) Rett's syndrome, which affects girls and is a genetic disorder with hard neurological signs, including seizures, that become more apparent with age; (3) Asperger syndrome, which refers to individuals with autistic characteristics but relatively intact language abilities, and; (4) Childhood Disintegrative Disorder, which refers to children whose development appears normal for the first few years, but then regresses with the loss of speech and other skills until the characteristics of autism are conspicuous. Although the classical form of autism can be readily distinguished from other forms of ASD, the terms autism and ASD are often used interchangeably.

Individuals with autism and ASD vary widely in ability and personality. Individuals can exhibit severe mental retardation or be extremely gifted in their intellectual and academic accomplishments. While many individuals prefer isolation and tend to withdraw from social contact, others show high levels of affection and enjoyment in social situations. Some people with autism appear lethargic and slow to respond, but others are very active and seem to interact constantly with preferred aspects of their environment.