Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 26

Special Education Related Abstracts

26 Data-Driven Decision Making: Justification of Not Leaving Class without It

Authors: Denise Hexom, Judith Menoher

Abstract:

Teachers and administrators across America are being asked to use data and hard evidence to inform practice as they begin the task of implementing Common Core State Standards. Yet, the courses they are taking in schools of education are not preparing teachers or principals to understand the data-driven decision making (DDDM) process nor to utilize data in a much more sophisticated fashion. DDDM has been around for quite some time, however, it has only recently become systematically and consistently applied in the field of education. This paper discusses the theoretical framework of DDDM; empirical evidence supporting the effectiveness of DDDM; a process a department in a school of education has utilized to implement DDDM; and recommendations to other schools of education who attempt to implement DDDM in their decision-making processes and in their students’ coursework.

Keywords: Special Education, Data-Driven Decision Making, continuous improvement, institute of higher education

Procedia PDF Downloads 234
25 An Application of E-Learning Technology for Students with Deafness and Hearing Impairment

Authors: Eyup Bayram Guzel

Abstract:

There have been growing awareness that technology offers unique and promising advantages by offering up-to-data educational materials in promoting teaching and learning materials, new strategies for building enhanced communication environment for people with disabilities and specifically for this study concentrated on the students with deafness and hearing impairments. Creating e-learning environment where teachers and students work in collaboration to develop better educational outcomes is the foremost reason of conducting this research. This study examined the perspectives of special education teachers’ regarding an application of e-learning software called Multimedia Builder on the students with deafness and hearing impairments. Initial and follow up interviews were conducted with 15 special education teachers around the scope of qualitative case study. Grounded approach has been used to analyse and interpret the data. The research results revealed that application of Multimedia Builder software were influential on reading, sign language, vocabulary improvements, computer and ICT usage developments and on audio-visual learning achievements for the advantages of students with deafness and hearing impairments. The implications of the study encouraged the ways of using e-learning tools and strategies to promote unique and comprehensive learning experiences for the targeted students and their teachers.

Keywords: e-Learning, Special Education, deafness and hearing impairment, computer-ICT usage

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24 Differentiation: A Risky Route To An Inclusive Reality

Authors: Marie C. Ryan

Abstract:

The current paper seeks to reconsider differentiation in order to establish whether differentiation has succeeded in its benevolent aim to support individual needs through teaching adaptations or whether paradoxically our attention to differentiation has served to exclude and marginalise. This paper does not deny variation in learner needs and accepts that inclusion requires teachers to adapt and modify curricular content; rather it seeks to examine whether differentiation as it is conceptualised and implemented is fit for purpose when it comes to adapting teaching in view of learner differences. The paper will also explore an alternative approach to supporting learner differences through teaching modifications which may offer a safer path to an inclusive educational reality.

Keywords: Inclusion, Special Education, Universal design for learning, Differentiation

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23 [Keynote Talk]: A Blueprint for an Educational Trajectory: The Power of Discourse in Constructing “Naughty” and “Adorable” Kindergarten Students

Authors: Fernanda T. Orsati, Julie Causton

Abstract:

Discursive practices enacted by educators in kindergarten create a blueprint for how the educational trajectories of students with disabilities are constructed. This two-year ethnographic case study critically examine educators’ relationships with students considered to present challenging behaviors in one kindergarten classroom located in a predominantly White middle-class school district in the Northeast of the United States. Focusing on the language and practices used by one special education teacher and three teaching assistants, this paper analyzes how teacher responses to students’ behaviors constructs and positions students over one year of kindergarten education. Using a critical discourse analysis, it shows that educators understand students’ behaviors as a deficit and needing consequences. This study highlights how educators’ responses reflect students' individual characteristics including family background, socioeconomics and ability status. This paper offers in-depth analysis of two students’ stories, which evidenced that the language used by educators amplifies the social positioning of students within the classroom and creates a foundation for who they are constructed to be. Through exploring routine language and practices, this paper demonstrates that educators outlined a blueprint of kindergartners, which positioned students as learners in ways that became the ground for either a limited or a promising educational pathway for them.

Keywords: Behavior, Special Education, Early Education, Critical Discourse Analysis

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22 Augmented Reality in Teaching Children with Autism

Authors: Azadeh Afrasyabi, Ali Khaleghi, Aliakbar Alijarahi

Abstract:

Training at an early age is so important, because of tremendous changes in adolescence, including the formation of character, physical changes and other factors. One of the most sensitive sectors in this field is the children with a disability and are somehow special children who have trouble in communicating with their environment. One of the emerging technologies in the field of education that can be effectively profitable called augmented reality, where the combination of real world and virtual images in real time produces new concepts that can facilitate learning. The purpose of this paper is to propose an effective training method for special and disabled children based on augmented reality. Of course, in particular, the efficiency of augmented reality in teaching children with autism will consider, also examine the various aspect of this disease and different learning methods in this area.

Keywords: Augmented Reality, Special Education, Teaching Methods, Technology in Education

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21 Mindfulness among Educators in General and Special Education at Independent Schools in Qatar and Its Effects on Their Academic Performance and Self-Efficacy

Authors: Mohamed S. Osman, Mohamed R. Nosair

Abstract:

The study aims to determine the effects of mindfulness on self-efficacy and professional success among educators of general and special education at Qatar Independent. The study sample will consist of 100 educators from the males and females divided to (50) educators of general education and (50) educators of Special Education in primary, and high schools. They will response to mindfulness scale and the scale of self-efficacy. In addition, use reports of the assessment by the Department of Education for their performance and assessments of their supervisors. The study will examine the effect of some variables such as differences between educators from general and special education, as well as the differences between males and females and years of experience. The study will use a statistic descriptive approach and Correlative analysis such as; means and the Pearson correlation coefficient. The study may predicts differences between educators in all variables study.

Keywords: Special Education, Self-efficacy, Mindfulness, Academic Performance, general education, educators

Procedia PDF Downloads 191
20 Creating an Inclusive Classroom: Country Case Studies Analysis on Mainstream Teachers’ Teaching-Efficacy and Attitudes towards Inclusive Education in Japan and Singapore

Authors: Yei Mian Adrian Yap

Abstract:

How we idealize the regular schools to be inclusive as much as possible hinges on mainstream teachers’ attitudes and teaching-efficacy towards the inclusion of students with special needs in the regular schools. This research studies the Japanese and Singaporean mainstream teachers’ attitudes and teaching-efficacy towards the inclusion of students with special needs in the regular classrooms by investigating what key variables influence their attitudes and teaching-efficacy and how they strategize to address their challenges to include their students with special needs in their regular classrooms. In order to understand the nature of teachers’ attitudes and teaching-efficacy towards the inclusive education, a mixed-method research methodology was carried out in Japan and Singapore; it involved an explanatory sequential method of employing quantitative research first before qualitative research. In the quantitative research, 189 Japanese and 183 Singaporean teachers were invited to participate in the questionnaires and out of these participants, 38 Japanese and 15 Singaporean teachers shared their views during their semi-structured interviews. Based on the empirical findings, Japanese teachers’ attitudes and teaching-efficacy were more likely to be influenced by their experiences in teaching students with special needs, knowledge about disability legislation, presence of their disabled family members and level of confidence to teach students with special needs. On the other hand, Singaporean teachers’ attitudes and teaching-efficacy were affected by gender, educational level, received trainings in special needs education, knowledge about disability legislation and level of confidence to teach students with special needs. Both country results also demonstrated that there was a positive correlation between their teaching-efficacy and attitude. Narrative findings further expanded the reasons behind these quantitative factors that shaped teachers’ attitudes and teaching-efficacy. Also it discussed the various problems faced by Japanese and Singaporean teachers and how they identified their coping strategies to circumvent their challenges in including their students with special needs in their regular classrooms. The significance of this research manifests in necessary educational reforms in both countries especially in the context of inclusive education. These findings may not be as definitive as expected but it is believed that it could provide useful information on the current situation about teachers’ concerns towards the inclusive education. In conclusion, this research could potentially make its positive contribution to the body of literature on teachers’ attitudes and teaching-efficacy in the context of Asian developed countries and these findings could posit that regular teachers’ positive attitudes and strong sense of teaching self-efficacy could directly improve the success rate of inclusion of students with special needs in the regular classrooms.

Keywords: Special Education, attitudes, Inclusive Education, teaching-efficacy

Procedia PDF Downloads 218
19 Creating an Inclusive Classroom: Country Case Studies Analysis on Mainstream Teachers' Teaching-Efficacy and Attitudes towards Inclusive Education in Japan and Singapore

Authors: Yei Mian Adrian Yap

Abstract:

This study aims to assess the Japanese and Singaporean mainstream teachers’ attitudes and teaching-efficacy towards the inclusion of students with special needs in the regular classrooms by investigating what kind of key variables influence their attitudes and teaching-efficacy. It also further investigates how they strategize to address their challenges to include their students with special needs in their regular classrooms. In order to understand the nature of teachers’ attitudes and teaching-efficacy towards the inclusive education, a mixed-method research methodology was carried out in Japan and Singapore; it involved an explanatory sequential method of employing quantitative research first before qualitative research. In the quantitative research, 189 Japanese and 183 Singaporean teachers were invited to participate in the questionnaires and out of these participants, 38 Japanese and 15 Singaporean teachers shared their views during their semi-structured interviews. Based on the empirical findings, Japanese teachers’ attitudes and teaching-efficacy were more likely to be influenced by their experiences in teaching students with special needs, knowledge about disability legislation, presence of their disabled family members and level of confidence to teach students with special needs. On the other hand, Singaporean teachers’ attitudes and teaching-efficacy were affected by gender, educational level, received trainings in special needs education, knowledge about disability legislation and level of confidence to teach students with special needs. Both country results also demonstrated that there was a positive correlation between their teaching-efficacy and attitude. Narrative findings further expanded the reasons behind these quantitative factors that shaped teachers’ attitudes and teaching-efficacy. Also, it discussed the various problems faced by Japanese and Singaporean teachers and how they identified their coping strategies to circumvent their challenges in including their students with special needs in their regular classrooms. The significance of this research manifests in necessary educational reforms in both countries especially in the context of inclusive education. These findings may not be as definitive as expected but it is believed that it could provide useful information on the current situation about teachers’ concerns towards the inclusive education. In conclusion, this research could potentially make its positive contribution to the body of literature on teachers’ attitudes and teaching-efficacy in the context of Asian developed countries. Further, these findings could posit that regular teachers’ positive attitudes and strong sense of teaching self-efficacy could directly improve the success rate of inclusion of students with special needs in the regular classrooms.

Keywords: Special Education, attitudes, Inclusive Education, teaching-efficacy

Procedia PDF Downloads 206
18 Riding the Crest of the Wave: Inclusive Education in New Zealand

Authors: Barbara A. Perry

Abstract:

In 1996, the New Zealand government and the Ministry of Education announced that they were setting up a "world class system of inclusive education". As a parent of a son with high and complex needs, a teacher, school Principal and Disability studies Lecturer, this author will track the changes in the journey towards inclusive education over the last 20 years. Strategies for partnering with families to ensure educational success along with insights from one of those on the crest of the wave will be presented. Using a narrative methodology the author will illuminate how far New Zealand has come towards this world class system of inclusion promised and share from personal experience some of the highlights and risks in the system. This author has challenged the old structures and been part of the setting up of new structures particularly for providing parent voice and insight; this paper provides a unique view from an insider’s voice as well as a professional in the system.

Keywords: Special Education, Inclusive Education, Disability Studies, working with families with children with disability

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17 Inclusive Education in Jordanian Double-Shift Schools: Attitudes of Teacher and Students

Authors: David Ross Cameron

Abstract:

In an attempt to alleviate the educational planning problem, double-shift schools have been created throughout various regions in Jordan, namely communities closer to the Syrian border, where a large portion of the refugee population settled, allowing Jordanians to attend the morning-shift and Syrians to attend the afternoon-shift. Subsequently, overcrowded classrooms have added a significant amount of stress on school facilities and teacher capacities. Established national policies and the implementation of inclusive educational practices have been jeopardized. In particular, teachers’ and student’s attitudes of the importance of inclusive education provisions in the classroom have deteriorated. To have a more comprehensive understanding of the current situation and possible plan for intervention, a focus study was carried out at a double-shift Jordanian/Syrian girls’ public school in Irbid, Jordan. Interviews and surveys of 29 students with physical, learning, emotional and behavioral disabilities, 33 students without any special needs and nine teachers were included with a mixed-method social research approach to highlight the current attitudes that students and teachers held and factors that contributed to shaping their inclinations and beliefs of inclusive education.

Keywords: Development, Planning, pedagogy, Policy, Special Education, Capacity building, Inclusive Education, jordan, special needs, refugee, double-shift, Irbid, vulnerable population

Procedia PDF Downloads 141
16 The Six 'P' Model: Principles of Inclusive Practice for Inclusion Coaches

Authors: Tiffany Gallagher, Sheila Bennett

Abstract:

Based on data from a larger study, this research is based in a small school district in Ontario, Canada, that has made a transition from self-contained classes for students with exceptionalities to inclusive classroom placements for all students with their age-appropriate peers. The school board aided this transition by hiring Inclusion Coaches with a background in special education to work alongside teachers as partners and inform their inclusive practice. Based on qualitative data from four focus groups conducted with Inclusion Coaches, as well as four blog-style reflections collected at various points over two years, six principles of inclusive practice were identified for coaches. The six principles form a model during transition: pre-requisite, process, precipice, promotion, proof, and promise. These principles are encapsulated in a visual model of a spiraling staircase displaying the conditions that exist prior to coaching, during coaching interactions and considerations for the sustainability of coaching. These six principles are re-iterative and should be re-visited each time a coaching interaction is initiated. Exploring inclusion coaching as a model emulates coaching in other contexts and allows us to examine an established process through a new lens. This research becomes increasingly important as more school boards transition toward inclusive classrooms, The Six ‘P’ Model: Principles of Inclusive Practice for Inclusion Coaches allows for a unique look into a scaffolding model of building educator capacity in an inclusive setting.

Keywords: Inclusion, Special Education, Coaching, Capacity building

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15 Perceived Barriers and Benefits of Technology-Based Progress Monitoring for Non-Academic Individual Education Program Goals

Authors: A. Drelick, T. Sondergeld, M. Decarlo-Tecce, K. McGinley

Abstract:

In 1975, a free, appropriate public education (FAPE) was granted for all students in the United States regardless of their disabilities. As a result, the special education landscape has been reshaped through new policies and legislation. Progress monitoring, a specific component of an Individual Education Program (IEP) calls, for the use of data collection to determine the appropriateness of services provided to students with disabilities. The recent US Supreme Court ruling in Endrew F. v. Douglas County warrants giving increased attention to student progress, specifically pertaining to improving functional, or non-academic, skills that are addressed outside the general education curriculum. While using technology to enhance data collection has become a common practice for measuring academic growth, its application for non-academic IEP goals is uncertain. A mixed-methods study examined current practices and rationales for implementing technology-based progress monitoring focused on non-academic IEP goals. Fifty-seven participants responded to an online survey regarding their progress monitoring programs for non-academic goals. After isolated analysis and interpretation of quantitative and qualitative results, data were synthesized to produce meta-inferences that drew broader conclusions on the topic. For the purpose of this paper, specific focus will be placed on the perceived barriers and benefits of implementing technology-based progress monitoring protocols for non-academic IEP goals. The findings of this study highlight facts impacting the use of technology-based progress monitoring. Perceived barriers to implementation include: (1) lack of training, (2) access to technology, (3) outdated or inoperable technology, (4) reluctance to change, (5) cost, (6) lack of individualization within technology-based programs, and (7) legal issues in special education; while perceived benefits include: (1) overall ease of use, (2) accessibility, (3) organization, (4) potential for improved presentation of data, (5) streamlining the progress-monitoring process, and (6) legal issues in special education. Based on these conclusions, recommendations are made to IEP teams, school districts, and software developers to improve the progress-monitoring process for functional skills.

Keywords: Special Education, Technology, progress monitoring, functional skills

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14 Developing Educator Cultural Awareness through Critically Reflective Professional Learning Community Collaboration

Authors: Brooke A. Moore

Abstract:

Developing teachers’ cultural awareness ensures schools are culturally responsive and socially just for diverse and exceptional students. An ideology of ‘normal’ exists in schools, creating boundaries where some students belong and others are marginalized based on difference. It is important that teacher preparation work to create democratic classrooms where teachers foster tolerance of difference and promote critical thinking and social justice. This paper outlines a framework for developing educator cultural awareness through the use of critically reflective professional learning communities (PLCs) drawing from the research on teacher critical reflection, collaborative PLCs, and Engeström’s theory of expansive learning. A case study using the framework was conducted with ten practicing teachers. Participants read and reflected on critical literature to make visible unexamined beliefs, engaged in conversations that pushed them to reflect more deeply and project forward new ideas, and set goals for acting as agents of change in their schools.

Keywords: Diversity, Special Education, teacher beliefs, cultural and linguistic diversity

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13 Psychological Factors of Readiness of Defectologists to Professional Development: On the Example of Choosing an Educational Environment

Authors: Inna V. Krotova

Abstract:

The study pays special attention to the definition of the psychological potential of a specialist-defectologist, which determines his desire to increase the level of his or her professional competence. The group included participants of the educational environment – an additional professional program 'Technologies of psychological and pedagogical assistance for children with complex developmental disabilities' implemented by the department of defectology and clinical psychology of the KFU jointly with the Support Fund for the Deafblind people 'Co-Unity'. The purpose of our study was to identify the psychological aspects of the readiness of the specialist-defectologist to his or her professional development. The study assessed the indicators of psychological preparedness, and its four components were taken into account: motivational, cognitive, emotional and volitional. We used valid and standardized tests during the study. As a result of the factor analysis of data received (from Extraction Method: Principal Component Analysis, Rotation Method: Varimax with Kaiser Normalization, Rotation converged in 12 iterations), there were identified three factors with maximum factor load from 24 indices, and their correlation coefficients with other indicators were taken into account at the level of reliability p ≤ 0.001 and p ≤ 0.01. Thus the system making factor was determined – it’s a 'motivation to achieve success'; it formed a correlation galaxy with two other factors: 'general internality' and 'internality in the field of achievements', as well as with such psychological indicators as 'internality in the field of family relations', 'internality in the field of interpersonal relations 'and 'low self-control-high self-control' (the names of the scales used is the same as names in the analysis methods. In conclusion of the article, we present some proposals to take into account the psychological model of readiness of specialists-defectologists for their professional development, to stimulate the growth of their professional competence. The study has practical value for all providers of special education and organizations that have their own specialists-defectologists, teachers-defectologists, teachers for correctional and ergotherapeutic activities, specialists working in the field of correctional-pedagogical activity (speech therapists) to people with special needs who need true professional support.

Keywords: Professional Development, Special Education, Psychological Factors, professional competence, psychological readiness, defectologist, innovative educational environment

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12 Selecting Special Education as a Career: A Qualitative Study of Motivating Factors for Special Education Teachers

Authors: Jennifer Duffy, Liz Fleming

Abstract:

Teacher shortage in special education is an American educational problem. Due to the implementation of The No Child Left Behind Act (2001) and The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (2004), there has been an increase in the number of students requiring special education services. Consequently, there has been an influx to hire more special education teachers. However, the historic challenge of hiring certified special education teachers has been intensified with this the profession’s increasing demand of positions to fill. Efforts to improve recruitment and entry into the field must be informed by an understanding of the factors that initially inspire special education teachers to choose this career pathway. Hence, an understanding of reasons why teachers select special education as a profession is needed. The purpose of this study was to explore personal, academic, and professional motivations that lead to the selection of special education as a career choice. Using the grounded theory approach, this research investigation examined the factors that were most instrumental in influencing applicants to select special education as a career choice. Over one hundred de-identified graduate school applications to Bay Path University’s Graduate Special Education Programs from 2014- 2017 were qualitatively analyzed. Grounded coding was used to discover themes that emerged in applicants’ admissions essays explaining why he/she was pursuing a career in special education. The central themes that were most influential in applicants’ selection of special education as a career trajectory were (a) personal/familial connections to disability, (b) meaningful paraprofessional experiences working with disabled children, (c) aptitudes for teaching, and (d) finding personal rewards and professional fulfillment by advocating for vulnerable children. Implications from these findings include educating family members of children with disabilities about possible career tracks in special education, designing programs for paraprofessionals to become certified teachers, exposing prospective teacher candidates to the field of special education, and recruiting professionals from the human services field who seek to improve the quality of life and educational opportunities for children with special needs.

Keywords: Special Education, career choice, professional pathways to teaching children with disabilities, teacher recruitment

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11 Teachers' Experience for Improving Fine Motor Skills of Children with Down Syndrome in the Context of Special Education in Southern Province of Sri Lanka

Authors: Sajee A. Gamage, Champa J. Wijesinghe, Patricia Burtner, Ananda R. Wickremasinghe

Abstract:

Background: Teachers working in the context of special education have an enormous responsibility of enhancing performance skills of children in their classroom settings. Fine Motor Skills (FMS) are essential functional skills for children to gain independence in Activities of Daily Living. Children with Down Syndrome (DS) are predisposed to specific challenges due to deficits in FMS. This study is aimed to determine the teachers’ experience on improving FMS of children with DS in the context of special education of Southern Province, Sri Lanka. Methodology: A cross-sectional study was conducted among all consenting eligible teachers (n=147) working in the context of special education in government schools of Southern Province of Sri Lanka. A self-administered questionnaire was developed based on literature and expert opinion to assess teachers’ experience regarding deficits of FMS, limitations of classroom activity performance and barriers to improve FMS of children with DS. Results: Approximately 93% of the teachers were females with a mean age ( ± SD) of 43.1 ( ± 10.1) years. Thirty percent of the teachers had training in special educationand 83% had children with DS in their classrooms. Major deficits of FMS reported were deficits in grasping (n=116; 79%), in-hand manipulation (n=103; 70%) and bilateral hand use (n=99; 67.3%). Paperwork (n=70; 47.6%), painting (n=58; 39.5%), scissor work (n=50; 34.0%), pencil use for writing (n=45; 30.6%) and use of tools in the classroom (n=41; 27.9%) were identified as major classroom performance limitations of children with DS. Parental factors (n=67; 45.6%), disease specific characteristics (n=58; 39.5%) and classroom factors (n=36; 24.5%), were identified as major barriers to improve FMS in the classroom setting. Lack of resources and standard tools, social stigma and late school admission were also identified as barriers to FMS training. Eighty nine percent of the teachers informed that training fine motor activities in a special education classroom was more successful than work with normal classroom setting. Conclusion: Major areas of FMS deficits were grasping, in-hand manipulation and bilateral hand use; classroom performance limitations included paperwork, painting and scissor work of children with DS. Teachers recommended regular practice of fine motor activities according to individual need. Further research is required to design a culturally specific FMS assessment tool and intervention methods to improve FMS of children with DS in Sri Lanka.

Keywords: Experience, Special Education, Teachers, down syndrome, fine motor skills, classroom activities

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10 Implementation of Inclusive Education in DepEd-Dasmarinas: Basis for Inclusion Program Framework

Authors: Manuela S. Tolentino, John G. Nepomuceno

Abstract:

The purpose of this investigation was to assess the implementation of inclusive education (IE) in 6 elementary and 5 secondary public schools in the City Schools Division of Dasmarinas. Participants in this study were 11 school heads, 73 teachers, 22 parents and 22 students (regular and with special needs) who were selected using purposive sampling. A 30-item questionnaire was used to gather data on the extent of the implementation of IE in the division while focus group discussion (FGD) was used to gather insights on what facilitate and hinder the implementation of the IE program. This study assessed the following variables: school culture and environment, inclusive education policy implementation, and curriculum design and practices. Data were analyzed using frequency count, mean and ranking. Results revealed that participants have similar assessment on the extent of the implementation of IE. School heads rated school culture and environment as highest in terms of implementation while teachers and pupils chose curriculum design and practices. On the other hand, parents felt that inclusive education policies are implemented best. School culture and environment are given high ratings. Participants perceived that the IE program in the division is making everyone feel welcome regardless of age, sex, social status, physical, mental and emotional state; students with or without disability are equally valued, and students help each. However, some aspects of the IE program implementation are given low ratings namely: partnership between staff, parents and caregivers, school’s effort to minimize discriminatory practice, and stakeholders sharing the philosophy of inclusion. As regards education policy implementation, indicators with the highest ranks were school’s effort to admit students from the locality especially students with special needs, and the implementation of the child protection policy and anti-bullying policy. The results of the FGD revealed that both school heads and teachers possessed the welcoming gesture to accommodate students with special needs. This can be linked to the increasing enrolment of SNE in the division. However, limitations of the teachers’ knowledge on handling learners, facilities and collaboration among stakeholders hinder the implementation of IE program. Based on the findings, inclusion program framework was developed for program enhancement. This will be the basis for the improvement of the program’s efficiency, the relationship between stakeholders, and formulation of solutions.

Keywords: Inclusion, Special Education, Inclusive Education, framework

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9 Facilitating Curriculum Access for Pupils with Vision Impairments: An Analysis of the Role of Specialist Teachers in England and Turkey

Authors: Kubra Akbayrak

Abstract:

In parallel with increasing inclusive practice for pupils with vision impairments, the role of specialist teachers who have specialized in the area of vision impairment has dramatically changed in recent years. This study, therefore, aims to provide a holistic perspective towards the distinctive role of specialist teachers of pupils with vision impairments in different educational settings (including mainstream settings, special school settings, etc.) in Turkey and England. Within the scope of the study, semi-structured interviews have been conducted with 17 specialist teachers in Turkey and 14 specialist teachers in England in order to reveal the perception of specialist teachers regarding their roles in different educational settings as well as their perception towards their pre-service training. As this study is a part of an ongoing PhD research, the qualitative data through semi-structured interviews will be analyzed through using Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems theory as a theoretical framework in order to provide a holistic view regarding the role of specialist teachers particularly in facilitating curriculum access for pupils with vision impairments in England and Turkey. However, the initial findings broadly illustrate that specialist teachers who work in special school settings have different understanding regarding their roles compared to specialist teachers who work in mainstream settings in relation to promoting independence for pupils with vision impairments. The initial findings also imply that specialist teachers in England and Turkey have different perception about their roles in relation to providing specialist advice and guidance for families of pupils. With the completion of the analysis of the study, it is hoped that the findings will provide an insight into the role of specialist teachers in order to provide implication for programmes which prepare specialist teachers of pupils with vision impairments.

Keywords: Special Education, curriculum access, pupils with vision impairments, specialist teachers

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8 Financial Burden of Family for the Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Authors: M. R. Bhuiyan, S. M. M. Hossain, M. Z. Islam

Abstract:

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is the fastest growing serious developmental disorder characterized by social deficits, communicative difficulties, and repetitive behaviors. ASD is an emerging public health issue globally which is associated with huge financial burden to the family, community and the nation. The aim of this study was to assess the financial burden of family for the children with Autism spectrum Disorder. This cross-sectional study was carried out from July 2015 to June 2016 among 154 children with ASD to assess the financial burden of family. Data were collected by face-to-face interview with semi-structured questionnaire following systematic random sampling technique. Majority (73.4%) children were male and mean (±SD) age was 6.66 ± 2.97 years. Most (88.8%) of the children were from urban areas with average monthly family income Tk. 41785.71±23936.45. Average monthly direct cost of the children was Tk.17656.49 ± 9984.35, while indirect cost was Tk. 13462.90 ± 9713.54 and total treatment cost was Tk. 23076.62 ± 15341.09. Special education cost (Tk. 4871.00), cost of therapy (Tk. 4124.07) and travel cost (Tk. 3988.31) were the major types of direct cost, while loss of income (Tk.14570.18) was the chief indirect cost incurred by the families. The study found that majority (59.8%) of the children attended special schools were incurred Tk.20001-78700 as total treatment cost, which were statistically significant (p<0.001). Again, families with higher monthly family income incurred higher treatment cost (r=0.526, p<0.05). Difference between mean direct and indirect cost was found significant (t=4.190, df=61, p<0.001). According to the analysis of variance, mean difference of father’s educational status among direct cost (F=10.337, p<0.001) and total treatment cost (F=7.841, p<0.001), which were statistically significant. The study revealed that maximum children with ASD were under five years, three-fourth were male. According to monthly family income, maximum family were in middle class. The study recommends cost effective interventions and financial safety-net measures to reduce the financial burden of families for the children with ASD.

Keywords: Special Education, Autism spectrum disorder, direct cost, indirect cost, financial burden

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7 An Exploration of Special Education Teachers’ Practices in a Preschool Intellectual Disability Centre in Saudi Arabia

Authors: Faris Algahtani

Abstract:

Background: In Saudi Arabia, it is essential to know what practices are employed and considered effective by special education teachers working with preschool children with intellectual disabilities, as a prerequisite for identifying areas for improvement. Preschool provision for these children is expanding through a network of Intellectual Disability Centres while, in primary schools, a policy of inclusion is pursued and, in mainstream preschools, pilots have been aimed at enhancing learning in readiness for primary schooling. This potentially widens the attainment gap between preschool children with and without intellectual disabilities, and influences the scope for improvement. Goal: The aim of the study was to explore special education teachers’ practices and perceived perceptions of those practices for preschool children with intellectual disabilities in Saudi Arabia Method: A qualitative interpretive approach was adopted in order to gain a detailed understanding of how special education teachers in an IDC operate in the classroom. Fifteen semi-structured interviews were conducted with experienced and qualified teachers. Data were analysed using thematic analysis, based on themes identified from the literature review together with new themes emerging from the data. Findings: American methods strongly influenced teaching practices, in particular TEACCH (Treatment and Education of Autistic and Communication related handicapped Children), which emphasises structure, schedules and specific methods of teaching tasks and skills; and ABA (Applied Behaviour Analysis), which aims to improve behaviours and skills by concentrating on detailed breakdown and teaching of task components and rewarding desired behaviours with positive reinforcement. The Islamic concept of education strongly influenced which teaching techniques were used and considered effective, and how they were applied. Tensions were identified between the Islamic approach to disability, which accepts differences between human beings as created by Allah in order for people to learn to help and love each other, and the continuing stigmatisation of disability in many Arabic cultures, which means that parents who bring their children to an IDC often hope and expect that their children will be ‘cured’. Teaching methods were geared to reducing behavioural problems and social deficits rather than to developing the potential of the individual child, with some teachers recognizing the child’s need for greater freedom. Relationships with parents could in many instances be improved. Teachers considered both initial teacher education and professional development to be inadequate for their needs and the needs of the children they teach. This can be partly attributed to the separation of training and development of special education teachers from that of general teachers. Conclusion: Based on the findings, teachers’ practices could be improved by the inclusion of general teaching strategies, parent-teacher relationships and practical teaching experience in both initial teacher education and professional development. Coaching and mentoring support from carefully chosen special education teachers could assist the process, as could the presence of a second teacher or teaching assistant in the classroom.

Keywords: Early Childhood, Special Education, Early Intervention, Intellectual Disabilities

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6 A Positive Neuroscience Perspective for Child Development and Special Education

Authors: Amedeo D'Angiulli, Kylie Schibli

Abstract:

Traditionally, children’s brain development research has emphasized the limitative aspects of disability and impairment, electing as an explanatory model the classical clinical notions of brain lesion or functional deficit. In contrast, Positive Educational Neuroscience (PEN) is a new approach that emphasizes strengths and human flourishing related to the brain by exploring how learning practices have the potential to enhance neurocognitive flexibility through neuroplastic overcompensation. This mini-review provides an overview of PEN and shows how it links to the concept of neurocognitive flexibility. We provide examples of how the present concept of neurocognitive flexibility can be applied to special education by exploring examples of neuroplasticity in the learning domain, including: (1) learning to draw in congenitally totally blind children, and (2) music training in children from disadvantaged neighborhoods. PEN encourages educators to focus on children’s strengths by recognizing the brain’s capacity for positive change and to incorporate activities that support children’s individual development.

Keywords: Special Education, neurocognitive development, positive educational neuroscience, sociocultural approach

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5 Study on the Focus of Attention of Special Education Students in Primary School

Authors: Tung-Kuang Wu, Hsing-Pei Hsieh, Ying-Ru Meng

Abstract:

Special Education in Taiwan has been facing difficulties including shortage of teachers and lack in resources. Some students need to receive special education are thus not identified or admitted. Fortunately, information technologies can be applied to relieve some of the difficulties. For example, on-line multimedia courseware can be used to assist the learning of special education students and take pretty much workload from special education teachers. However, there may exist cognitive variations between students in special or regular educations, which suggests the design of online courseware requires different considerations. This study aims to investigate the difference in focus of attention (FOA) between special and regular education students of primary school in viewing the computer screen. The study is essential as it helps courseware developers in determining where to put learning elements that matter the most on the right position of screen. It may also assist special education specialists to better understand the subtle differences among various subtypes of learning disabilities. This study involves 76 special education students (among them, 39 are students with mental retardation, MR, and 37 are students with learning disabilities, LDs) and 42 regular education students. The participants were asked to view a computer screen showing a picture partitioned into 3 × 3 areas with each area filled with text or icon. The subjects were then instructed to mark on the prior given paper sheets, which are also partitioned into 3 × 3 grids, the areas corresponding to the pictures on the computer screen that they first set their eyes on. The data are then collected and analyzed. Major findings are listed: 1. In both text and icon scenario, significant differences exist in the first preferred FOA between special and regular education students. The first FOA for the former is mainly on area 1 (upper left area, 53.8% / 51.3% for MR / LDs students in text scenario; and 53.8% / 56.8% for MR / LDs students in icons scenario), while the latter on area 5 (middle area, 50.0% and 57.1% in text and icons scenarios). 2. The second most preferred area in text scenario for students with MR and LDs are area 2 (upper-middle, 20.5%) and 5 (middle area, 24.3%). In icons scenario, the results are similar, but lesser in percentage. 3. Students with LDs that show similar preference (either in text or icons scenarios) in FOA to regular education students tend to be of some specific sub-type of learning disabilities. For instance, students with LDs that chose area 5 (middle area, either in text or icon scenario) as their FOA are mostly ones that have reading or writing disability. Also, three (out of 13) subjects in this category, after going through the rediagnosis process, were excluded from being learning disabilities. In summary, the findings suggest when designing multimedia courseware for students with MR and LDs, the essential learning elements should be placed on area 1, 2 and 5. In addition, FOV preference may also potentially be used as an indicator for diagnosing students with LDs.

Keywords: Special Education, Learning Disabilities, Mental Retardation, focus of attention, on-line multimedia courseware

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4 Special Education Teachers’ Knowledge and Application of the Concept of Curriculum Adaptation for Learners with Special Education Needs in Zambia

Authors: Kenneth Kapalu Muzata, Dikeledi Mahlo, Pinkie Mabunda Mabunda

Abstract:

This paper presents results of a study conducted to establish special education teachers’ knowledge and application of curriculum adaptation of the 2013 revised curriculum in Zambia. From a sample of 134 respondents (120 special education teachers, 12 education officers, and 2 curriculum specialists), the study collected both quantitative and qualitative data to establish whether teachers understood and applied the concept of curriculum adaptation in teaching learners with special education needs. To obtain data validity and reliability, the researchers collected data by use of mixed methods. Semi-structured questionnaires and interviews were administered. Lesson Observations and post-lesson discussions were conducted on 12 selected teachers from the 120 sample that answered the questionnaires. Frequencies, percentages, and significant differences were derived through the statistical package for social sciences. Qualitative data were analyzed with the help of NVIVO qualitative software to create themes and obtain coding density to help with conclusions. Both quantitative and qualitative data were concurrently compared and related. The results revealed that special education teachers lacked a thorough understanding of the concept of curriculum adaptation, thus denying learners with special education needs the opportunity to benefit from the revised curriculum. The teachers were not oriented on the revised curriculum and hence facing numerous challenges trying to adapt the curriculum. The study recommended training of special education teachers in curriculum adaptation.

Keywords: Special Education, special education teachers, curriculum adaptation, learners with special education needs

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3 Evaluation of the Quality of Education Offered to Students with Special Needs in Public Schools in the City of Bauru, Brazil

Authors: V. L. M. F. Capellini, A. P. P. M. Maturana, N. C. M. Brondino, M. B. C. L. B. M. Peixoto, A. J. Broughton

Abstract:

A paradigm shift is a process. The process of implementing inclusive education, a system constructed to support all learners, requires planning, identification, experimentation, and evaluation. In this vein, the purpose of the present study was to evaluate the capacity of one Brazilian state school systems to provide special education students with a quality inclusive education. This study originated at the behest of concerned families of students with special needs who filed complaints with the Municipality of Bauru, São Paulo. These families claimed, 1) children with learning differences and educational needs had not been identified for services, and 2) those who had been identified had not received sufficient specialized educational assistance (SEA) in schools across the City of Bauru. Hence, the Office of Civil Rights for the state of São Paulo (Ministério Público de São Paulo) summoned the local higher education institution, UNESP, to design a research study to investigate these allegations. In this exploratory study, descriptive data were gathered from all elementary and middle schools including 58 state schools and 17 city schools, for a total of 75 schools overall. Data collection consisted of each school's annual strategic action plan, surveys and interviews with all school stakeholders to determine their perceptions of the inclusive education available to students with Special Education Needs (SEN). The data were collected as one of four stages in a larger study which also included field observations of a focal students' experience and a continuing education course for all teachers and administrators in both state and city schools. For the purposes of this study, the researchers were interested in understanding the perceptions of school staff, parents, and students across all schools. Therefore, documents and surveys from 75 schools were analyzed for adherence to federal legislation guaranteeing students with SEN the right to special education assistance within the regular school setting. Results shows that while some schools recognized the legal rights of SEN students to receive special education, the plans to actually deliver services were absent. In conclusion, the results of this study revealed both school staff and families have insufficient planning and accessibility resources, and the schools have inadequate infrastructure for full-time support to SEN students, i.e., structures and systems to support the identification of SEN and delivery of services within schools of Bauru, SP. Having identified the areas of need, the city is now prepared to take next steps in the process toward preparing all schools to be inclusive.

Keywords: Inclusion, Special Education, School, special needs

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2 Development of Special Education in Moldova: Paradoxes of Inclusion

Authors: Liya Kalinnikova Magnusson

Abstract:

The present and ongoing research investigation are focusing on special educational origins in Moldova for children with disabilities and its development towards inclusion. The research is coordinated with related research on inclusion in Ukraine and other countries. The research interest in these issues in Moldova is caused by several reasons. The first one is based upon one of the intensive processes of deconstruction of special education institutions in Moldova since 1989. A large number of children with disabilities have been dropping out of these institutions: from 11400 students in 1989 to 5800 students in 1996, corresponding to 1% of all school-age Moldovan learners. Despite the fact that a huge number of students was integrated into regular schools and the dynamics of this data across the country was uneven (the opposite, the dynamics of exclusion was raised in Trans-Dniester on the border of Moldova), the volume of the change was evident and traditional special educational provision was under stable decline. The second reason is tied to transitional challenges, which Moldova met under the force to economic liberalisation that led the country to poverty. Deinstitutionalization of the entire state system took place in the situation of economic polarization of the society. The level of social benefits was dramatically diminished, increasing inequality. The most vulnerable from the comprehensive income consideration were families with many children, children with disabilities, children with health problems, etc.: each third child belonged to the poorest population. In 2000-2001: 87,4% of all families with children had incomes below the minimum wage. The research question raised based upon these considerations has been addressed to the investigation of particular patterns of the origins of special education and its development towards inclusion in Moldova from 1980 until the present date: what is the pattern of special education origins and what are particular arrangements of special education development towards inclusion against inequality? This is a qualitative study, with relevant peer review resources connected to the research question and national documents of educational reforms towards inclusion retrospectively and contemporary, analysed by a content analysis approach. This study utilises long term statistics completed by the respective international agencies as a result of regular monitoring of the implementation of educational reforms. The main findings were composed in three big themes: adoption of the Soviet pattern of special education, ‘endemic stress’ of breaking the pattern, and ‘paradoxes of resolution’.

Keywords: Statistics, Inclusion, Special Education, Content Analysis, educational reforms, children with disabilities

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1 Special Education in the South African Context: A Bio-Ecological Perspective

Authors: Suegnet Smit

Abstract:

Prior to 1994, special education in South Africa was marginalized and fragmented. Moving away from a Medical model approach to special education, the Government, after 1994, promoted an Inclusive approach, as a means to transform education in general, and special education in particular. This transformation, however, is moving at too a slow pace for learners with barriers to learning and development to benefit fully from their education. The goal of the Department of Basic Education is to minimize, remove, and prevent barriers to learning and development in the educational setting, by attending to the unique needs of the individual learner. However, the implementation of Inclusive education is problematic, and general education remains poor. This paper highlights the historical development of special education in South Africa, underpinned by a bio-ecological perspective. Problematic areas within the systemic levels of the education system are highlighted in order to indicate how the interactive processes within the systemic levels affect special needs learners on the personal dimension of the bio-ecological approach. As part of the methodology, thorough document analysis was conducted on information collected from a large body of research literature, which included academic articles, reports, policies, and policy reviews. Through a qualitative analysis, data were grouped and categorized according to the bio-ecological model systems, which revealed various successes and challenges within the education system. The challenges inhibit change, growth, and development for the child, who experience barriers to learning. From these findings, it is established that special education in South Africa has been, and still is, on a bumpy road. Sadly, the transformation process of change, envisaged by implementing Inclusive education, is still yet a dream, not fully realized. Special education seems to be stuck at what is, and the education system has not moved forward significantly enough to reach what special education should and could be. The gap that exists between a vision of Inclusive quality education for all, and the current reality, is still too wide. Problems encountered in all the education system levels, causes a funnel-effect downward to learners with special educational needs, with negative effects for the development of these learners.

Keywords: Special Education, education systems, Inclusive Education, bio-ecological perspective

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