Special Education in Latin America: Experiences and Issues

By Alfredo J. Artiles; Daniel P. Hallahan | Go to book overview

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Introduction

ALFREDO J. ARTILES AND DANIEL P. HALLAHAN

Our purpose in preparing this book is to disseminate information on the provision of special education services for students with mild disabilities in the Latin American subcontinent. This is indeed an important area of study, considering that people with mild disabilities (e.g., mild mental retardation, learning disabilities, and emotional/behavioral disorders) constitute the vast majority of the disabled population. For the purposes of the book, we have adopted the following definition of children with mild disabilities:

These are inefficient school learners whose deviations in school achievement, and possibly social adjustment, are so marked as to necessitate specialized intervention. At the same time, these are usually ablebodied, normal-appearing children whose learning problems are not compounded by physical stigmata or physical disabilities. . . . By far the greatest number of mainstreamed children [in the United States] are the mildly handicapped. . . . [T]he curriculum for mildly handicapped children corresponds closely to traditional general education in terms of what is taught; modifications occur primarily in how it is taught. ( MacMillan, Keogh, & Jones, 1986, pp. 686-687; emphasis in original)

Ironically, most developing countries devote their efforts to serving students with severe or sensory disabilities. In fact, the bulk of the special education literature in developing countries focuses almost exclusively on individuals with moderate and/or severe disabilities. Thus, little is known about special education for students with mild disabilities in developing countries. In addition, special education publications focusing

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