Education and Children with Disabilities
Children with disabilities face various challenges in education. Different scholars have addressed this, even as different researchers have studied solutions to this situation. Hudson, Browder, and Wakeman noted that for children with intellectual disability, it could be quite a challenge for them to engage with a grade-level text. It is also a challenge for their educators to help them adapt to this. Therefore, in their study, these have focused on strategies, which educators can use to help students with this problem to adapt to grade-level text (14). Lieberman and Conroy were also more specific in their study, and focused on the visually impaired children, and how they could be included in physical education. They explained how Paraeducators could widen their scope and include the visually impaired students in physical education (17).
Schischka, Rawlinson, and Hamilton in their qualitative study addressed the transition of young children with disabilities, from home to school. These also identified the most important factor necessary for a successful transition of children with disabilities (15). Finally, Sartini, Knight, and Collins focused on the importance of formation of social groups in schools so that students with disabilities could be able to socialise with their peers comfortably. They argued that social groups in such scenarios help to address communication needs of children with disabilities (53).
Hudson, Browder, and Wakeman reported that since adapting to grade-level text is a challenge to most intellectually disabled children and a challenge for teachers to help them achieve this, this should not be the end of the story, since there are remedies for this situation. They dwelt on different strategies, which educators can employ in their lessons with intellectually disabled children, to help them adapt faster to grade-level text. These vary and include shortening the text, augmenting the text, using a predicable structure of the text, summarizing the text, among others. According to them, all these, if applied, will enhance an intellectually disabled child’s adaptation to the grade-level text (16-7).
Similarly, Lieberman and Conroy have provided strategies for Paraeducators to help them include visually impaired children in physical education. In the case of Hudson, Browder, and Wakeman, because the intellectually disabled children were challenged with adapting to grade-level text, they were often excluded from active learning. Since teachers found this also challenging, they could focus only on those students with good intellectual capacities. Here, then there comes the aspect of seclusion in education. Similarly, Lieberman and Conroy address the factor of seclusion, although in children who are visually impaired, and being secluded from physical education, and not classroom learning like the case of Hudson, Browder, and Wakeman. Lieberman and Conroy in their study investigated the inclusion of visually impaired students in physical education, and found it wanting. They traced this phenomenon to lack of training of Paraeducators on how to include visually impaired children in physical education. They identified education of Paraeducators in this issue, as the best strategy to address the exclusion of these kind of students from participation in physical education (23-6).
Schischka, Rawlinson, and Hamilton identified the fact that transiting from life at home to school-life is challenging to children with disabilities. In their study therefore, they identified one strategy that would help both the parents and educators of the disabled children, as well as the disabled children themselves to experience a smooth transition (15-6). When a disabled child adapts well to school and the learning process, they are able to catch up faster in class, enjoy schooling, and perform better. This is therefore, a strategy, just like the cases of Hudson, Browder, and Wakeman; and Lieberman and Conroy, to help disabled children adapt to the school environment, and perform better in their education process. Schischka, Rawlinson, and Hamilton identified home-school partnership as the best strategy of achieving a smooth transition of disabled children (15).
Apart from Hudson, Browder, and Wakeman; and Lieberman and Conroy, Sartini, Knight, and Collins also addressed the issue of seclusion of disabled children in school processes. While the former addressed exemption of disabled students in the classroom learning and physical education, Sartini, Knight, and Collins focused on exemption of disabled children from socializing at school. Like the other authors, these also provided a strategy through which educators could help address this issue. According to them, this is through the formation of social groups. They explained the procedure through which teachers could form these groups so that disabled children can feel part of the school fraternity (54-57).
The second aspect, which is common in all these authors, is that they all realize that there is immense difficulty for disabled children to get into education without any challenges. According to their arguments, disabled children are faced with a myriad of challenges in schools, which could hamper their good academic performance. The fact that all the authors addressed different disabilities in children proves that all disabled children, regardless of their disability type, face challenges in education. However, by providing strategies through which these challenges can be addressed, all these authors have shown that, no matter their challenges in education, disabled children are still capable of academic success, if their educators and parents look for the solutions to their challenges.
Lieberman, Lauren and Conroy, Paula. “Training of Paraeducators for Physical Education for
Children with Visual Impairments.” Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness, pp. 17-
28, January-February 2013.
Hudson, Melissa, Browder, Dianne and Wakeman, Shawnee. “Helping Students with Moderate
and Severe Intellectual Disability Access Grade-Level Text.” Teaching Exceptional
Children. 45(3), 14-23.
Sartini, Emily, Knight, Victoria and Collins, Belva. “Ten Guidelines to Facilitate Social Groups
for Students with Complex Special Needs.” Teaching Exceptional Children. 45(3), 54-
Schischka, Janice, Rawlinson, Catherine and Hamilton, Richard. “Factors Affecting the
Transition to School for Young Children with Disabilities.” Australasian Journal of
Early Childhood. 37(4), 15-23, December 2012.
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