Tag Archive: Special

Sociocultural implications on the learning of youth with concurrent disorders: Factors that are perceived as necessary for student success in mainstream classrooms (Education Papers posted on April 12th, 2014 )

Research indicates that a significant proportion of adolescent students have a concurrent disorder that is significant enough to cause Social or educational impairment. Thus the potential consequences of this condition on students as they progress through adolescence cannot be denied. The present study explored the factors perceived by teachers, administrators, and psychologists to be important in helping this population of students to achieve academic and Social success in a mainstream classroom. The results of this study indicate that the number of adolescent students exhibiting symptoms of a concurrent disorder within the secondary school environment has increased in recent years. While a small number of students will need to access community services, many will remain within the classroom. There is a general consensus for a need for empirically-based classroom strategies, although there is a noticeable lack of consistency and confidence regarding the details and implementation of such strategies. Keywords: Concurrent disorders; adolescents; teachers; perceptions; student success; mainstream classroom.

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Postsecondary Transition for Students in Special Education (Education Papers posted on April 11th, 2014 )

This action research project examined the effectiveness of the Ten Sigma Transition System in assisting teachers with developing appropriate transition programming, measurable goals, and objectives for students with disabilities in a public junior high school located in eastern Minnesota. This research project also examined students’ perceptions of the Ten Sigma Transition Survey’s effectiveness in reflecting their preferences, allowing for their annual goals to reflect those same preferences and align with their student-driven postsecondary goals. The population participated through their annual Individual Education Plans as well as through a series of two surveys. The findings of the study included that the IEPs were given a higher score on the NSTTAC Checklist after implementation of the 10 Sigma Transition System and that comparison of student perceptions indicated positive gains for two students, while one student’s remained the same, and one student’s indicated a negative gain.

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Experiences of Children with Inflammatory Bowel Disease and their Families in General Education Classrooms (Education Papers posted on April 11th, 2014 )

The purpose of this study was to investigate how children with Inflammatory Bowel Disease IBD) and their families perceived their school experiences in Québec. IBD is one of many “invisible” chronic diseases. IT is considered invisible because IT occurs internally without significant observable external symptoms. However, children with IBD experience painful and fluctuating physical symptoms caused by intestinal inflammation, as well as the side effects from medications. As a result, they require special accommodations while they attend public or private school. The Québec Education Act 2010) stipulates that adequate services for a diverse student population must be provided. Consequently, the research sought to answer the following questions: What are the experiences of parents and children with IBD enrolled in general education classrooms? And, what are the experiences of their brother or sister? To research these questions, a case study method was used with five families. The two instruments used to collect the data were, 1) individual semi-structured interviews that followed a modified version of Seidmans 2006) in-depth interviewing approach and 2) drawings of the family by siblings. The data were analyzed inductively. This study was the first to use a qualitative approach with multiple methods that were guided by Bronfenbrenners ecological systems theory 1979) and Turnbull and Turnbulls family systems theory 2001). The findings revealed that, unlike many studies on families of children with special needs, these families with a child with IBD functioned relatively well. At the microsystem level, mothers assumed responsibility as the primary caregiver. Siblings experienced their own challenges, such as feelings of parental neglect. Nonetheless, they also maintained nurturing roles. Within the mesosystem level, the home and school relationship was impacted. Parents and children with IBD experienced school personnel who lacked awareness of IBD and provided insufficient classroom support, especially at public schools. Hence, parents-predominantly mothers) played an integral role in advocating for necessary accommodations on their childs behalf. In contrast to many studies on children with disabilities, children with IBD in this research had many friends in and outside of school. In the exosystem, parents struggled with feelings of guilt at having to balance employment and the high financial expense of caring for a child with IBD. They relied on assistance from government services and their IBD association. At the macrosystem level, family members believed that children with IBD were perceived negatively by society because of the lack of public awareness and the stigma that surrounds the topic of incontinence. This study makes contributions to systems theories and provides practical recommendations to school personnel and parents.

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Teachers’ beliefs about culturally, linguistically, and economically diverse gifted students (Education Papers posted on March 25th, 2013 )

The purpose of this study was to investigate teachers beliefs about culturally, linguistically, and economically diverse CLED) gifted students. There is no baseline information about what teachers believe about CLED students potential. The newly developed Teachers Beliefs About Culturally, Linguistically, and Economically Diverse Gifted Students Survey De Wet. 2005) was administered to a stratified, random sample of 4,000 teachers from 8 states, 4 with FL, GA, TX and VA) and 4 without mandates for gifted education CA, CO, IL, MA). Five hundred teachers grades 3-5) were selected from each of the 8 states. A disappointing 308 surveys were returned representing a low 7.7% response rate. Respondents believed that IT would benefit gifted programs if CLED students are included, above average abilities are found in all economic strata and cultural groups, and IQ and standardized tests do not accurately reflect CLED students abilities. Three factors resulted from factor analysis of the survey: Benefits of Including CLED Students in Gifted Programs n = 10, alpha = .876). Universality of Abilities n = 6, alpha = .734), and Assessment of Abilities n = 6, alpha =.717). One-way MANOVAs did not yield significant group differences between mean scale scores on the factors for heterogeneity of schools where respondents worked White or diverse) or type of training respondents had no specialized training, bilingual only, gifted only, and bilingual and gifted training). Significant group differences were found on three factors as a result of whether respondents worked in a state with a mandate for gifted education or not. Teachers believed that formation of their epistemological beliefs about CLED students were influenced by personal experiences with diverse populations or specific students, and that barriers exist to the inclusion of CLED students in gifted programs. The most often mentioned barriers were ineffective and inappropriate identification procedures, the language barrier, and the need for teacher training. This study is significant because IT provides baseline information about teachers beliefs, gives insight into why CLED students are still under identified, and a reliable instrument was developed to assess teachers beliefs about gifted CLED students.

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English language learners with severe disabilities: A statewide survey of special education teachers and speech-language pathologists in Utah (Education Papers posted on March 24th, 2013 )

The purpose of this study was to examine the nature and scope of English language service delivery for English Language Learners ELLs) with severe disabilities in Utah schools. The following questions guided this study: a) Who is providing English language services to ELL students with severe disabilities and what are their qualifications for providing such services? b) What is the nature and scope of the English language services provided to students with severe disabilities in Utah schools as reported by special education teachers and speech-language pathologists? and c) What are the barriers to providing English language services to ELL students with severe disabilities as perceived by special education teachers and speech-language pathologists? The study surveyed 228 special education teachers licensed in severe disabilities and 508 speech-language pathologists currently working in Utah public schools from a list provided by the Utah State Office of Education. The results of the study indicate that Utah special education teachers licensed in severe disabilities and speech-language pathologists report the need for a more extensive professional development program in bilingual education in order to meet the instructional needs of ELL students with severe disabilities. The results highlight the disparity in ethnicity and language between professionals and their ELL students with severe disabilities. In addition, few professionals working with ELL students with severe disabilities reported using evidence-based practices. Special education teachers and speech-language pathologists also reported they had more concerns regarding effective communicating with the parents of ELL students with severe disabilities than with the actual provision of services. The implications of these findings for practice and recommendations for future research are discussed.

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Perceptions of graduate teaching assistants about inclusive teaching (Education Papers posted on March 24th, 2013 )

Graduate Teaching Assistants GTAs) are graduate students at research universities who hold office hours, grade papers, conduct labs and discussion sections and teach university courses. GTAs frequently have the full responsibility for teaching undergraduate courses. As the use of GTAs as university instructors has increased, the postsecondary student population has become more diverse. Undergraduate learners bring a variety of backgrounds and experience levels to the university classroom, such as different language and cultural backgrounds, ages, educational readiness for university study, and ability/disability status. An increased interest in the ways of teaching that include a wider range of learners has emerged as a response to diversity among postsecondary students. An increasing number of diverse learners are being instructed by GTAs, thus IT is important to understand GTAs beliefs about including these learners in their teaching. This study was designed to examine GTAs beliefs about inclusive teaching and the ways in which they described their methods of teaching diverse learners. The study also explored the teaching practices used by the participants and the relationship between their teaching practices and their beliefs about teaching diverse learners. A qualitative method was used to conduct the study. GTAs from varied disciplines were interviewed about their beliefs on inclusive college teaching. Their teaching was observed and material culture was collected, in the form of written instructional products such as syllabi, handouts, and quizzes. Participants said they wanted to teach in ways that included all learners. Their awareness of inclusive teaching included some areas of emerging skills and understandings. They were observed to use some inclusive teaching practices. They also made statements that suggested they lacked knowledge about how to teach inclusively. In addition, participants were observed to use inclusive practices which they did not mention when discussing inclusive teaching. The study suggests that effective faculty development for GTAs should include an orientation to inclusive teaching. Universal Design for Instruction UDI) provides a framework for describing inclusive teaching that can be used across disciplines. An introduction to university teaching that incorporates the Principles of Universal Design for Instructionc) is recommended for GTAs.

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An examination of the variables that affect the outcomes of children with autism spectrum disorders (Education Papers posted on March 20th, 2013 )

This retrospective study was conducted to determine if 47 children with autism, between the ages of 2 and 4, who participated in the Autism Spectrum Disorders Outcome Study and Training Project, made significant progress during an 18 month study period; and to examine and analyze relationships between pretreatment and treatment variables and the outcomes of the children in the areas of communication, Social interaction, stereotypic behaviors, and pre-academics. The findings of this study revealed that the children made significant progress. On their post assessments, the children had significantly more expressive language, receptive language, Social interaction, and pre-academic skills; and significantly fewer stereotypic behaviors. Survey data provided by parents and teachers supported these findings. During the study, the childrens service providers received training in behavioral instructional strategies for teaching children with autism, were provided with curriculum materials from the behaviorally-based Star Program Arick, Loos, Falco, & Krug, 2004), and were given one hands-on follow-up consultation in their classrooms after the training workshops. These treatment factors could have played an important role in the childrens significant progress. Additional findings indicated that there were significant relationships found between the childrens outcomes and their baseline cognitive abilities, baseline language skills, the age they received an educational diagnosis for services, and the number of weekly hours of pull-out one-to-one discrete trial training received.

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Autism programs in the Commonwealth of Virginia: From theory to practice (Education Papers posted on March 18th, 2013 )

Educational law did not recognize autism as a disability category until the passage of The Education for all Handicapped Children Act Public Law 101-476) in 1990. More recently, in 2005 the federal government issued a report from the United States Government Accountability Office GAO) detailing rising prevalence, expenditures that exceed general education per pupil spending, and multiple educational services. Furthermore, the Virginia Department of Education created an ad hoc committee to study autism in the Commonwealth. Therefore, the study sought to answer: 1) What programs are being used in the Commonwealth of Virginia to serve children identified with the educational disability label of autism? 2) What is the degree of effectiveness of these programs as perceived by directors of special education? and 3) Do selected demographics of the school division influence the types of programs that are delivered? A survey instrument was used to answer the research questions. The data were analyzed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences 14.0 SPSS 14.0) resulting in descriptive statistics and One-Way ANOVA with post hoc Multicomparison. Analysis revealed that 48.4% of school divisions responding primarily rely on traditional special education to serve children with autism. Post hoc testing revealed that the mean score for school divisions using a combination of specially designed programs M = 3.38) were statistically significantly different from the mean score of school divisions that primarily use traditional special education services M = 2.9).The results of this study may be used to promote the use of specially designed programs for children with autism in school divisions in the commonwealth of Virginia and focus training for school divisions that serve metro, urban, and rural areas.

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English-learner representation in special education: Impact of prereferral interventions and assessment practices (Education Papers posted on March 18th, 2013 )

Disproportionate representation of English-learners ELs) in special education has been a longstanding challenge and concern. Researchers and practitioners express concern with the appropriateness of the referral, identification, and placement process of ELs. This study examined pre-referral interventions and assessment practices with ELs and representation in special education in an urban school district in Southern California selected because of its large EL population. Variables of interest included observations of Student Success Team SST) meetings, school psychologist interviews, and file review of special education files. Observations examined characteristics of students referred to SSTs, members present at meetings, the consideration of pertinent cultural, linguistic, and educational information, and actions/strategies recommended by the team. Interviews examined school psychologist educational training and knowledge in working with culturally and linguistically diverse students and assessment practices. File analysis and review of special education files were conducted to examine language and assessment characteristics of EL students currently in special education. Observations results suggest the district did not have clearly defined guidelines for SSTs, information regarding student ELD instructional program, student primary language, and English language proficiency was only discussed in 27% of observations. Data also indicated discussion of duration, implementation, and progress monitoring of recommended interventions was not observed. Interview data revealed the most frequently cited concern by school psychologists was lack of adequate training received by their university program in conducting nondiscriminatory EL assessments. All reported conducting their own language proficiency assessments, assessing EL students in both languages including intelligence, achievement, and processing assessments. However, file review of psycho-educational assessment reports indicated only 52% of reports included assessment of student language proficiency in both languages, 25% of reports included the determination of language dominance and assessment, 17 of the 40 assessment reports indicated that ELs with a Beginning CELDT level were assessed in English. The problematic pre-referral and assessment practices with ELs encountered in the present study further substantiate the common multifaceted and challenging tasks faced by educators in the field. The position stands that there is much more we need to know in order to work effectively with the increasing number of ELs in schools.

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Special educators’ perceptions of self-determination in middle years’ students with learning disabilities (Education Papers posted on March 14th, 2013 )

As educators face an era of accountability, concern must focus not only on the academic achievement of youth, but also on the ability of youth to be masters of their own futures. The promotion of self-determination in children and youth with disabilities has been a focus of educational research for some time. Initial research in this area centred on students transitioning from school to work or further education. More recently, attention has moved to examining self-determination in younger students. While multiple studies in the United States have shown the teaching of self-determination in schools to be a best practice, minimal Canadian research on this subject exists. This study used a semi-structured qualitative interview research design to explore what Saskatchewan learning resource teachers who work with middle years students with learning disabilities know about self-determination, how they value and teach IT, and how they perceive self-determination should, or should not, be implemented in schools. Six learning resource teachers from an urban school division participated. Analysis of transcribed interview data and research logs yielded three central themes: a) students with learning disabilities need self-determination; b) “Who will plant the seed?” “Not I” and c) a caring classroom teacher must teach self-determination. The findings indicate that participants were unaware of the literature in the field. When presented with information, however, they identified self-determination as critical in the lives of their middle years students with learning disabilities. Ultimately, however, they saw their primary role as that of tutor and recommended that self-determination be taught in the general classroom. Though they valued self-determination as essential for their students, their practice did not align with their beliefs. After a discussion of the findings, this study offers additional recommendations and suggestions for further research.

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