Special Education

Special education caters for children and adolescents with physical, mental, emotional or behavioral problems that prevent them from taking full advantage of regular classroom schooling. Instruction in such circumstances involves extra care, professional assistance, learning aids, special settings and programs to help those students cope with school courses and develop skills to be able to integrate successfully in the community. In most countries legislation provides that all people, including those with special educational needs, should have the same opportunities and rights. Special education differs from general education in the methods of instruction it applies and its learning objectives. The goals in general education are set by a standard curriculum, while a student's disability may require modifications to the program for a certain course or subject to a lower level of difficulty. Support also includes adaptations of teaching materials, lesson presentations and skill assessment in order to help the disabled to access the general curriculum. Students in special education may have mild to severe intellectual deficiencies, hearing or visual impairments, mental or behavioral instability, chronic illnesses, physical disabilities that require the use of wheelchairs or prosthetics, developmental disorders such as autism and cerebral palsy or multiple disabilities. To address the special needs of children with such a variety of disabilities, authorities try to ensure adequate educational support, which is not always achievable due to budget constraints even in developed countries.

One of the options is special residential or day schools, which usually take children suffering from autism, hearing or visual impairments. The curriculum is adapted to the children's speed of learning, the teachers are specially trained professionals, the classes are small and the classrooms are equipped with hearing aids, Braille machines and other devices. An issue with this type of schools is the segregation of children from their peers and concerns that their isolation is detrimental to their functioning adequately in ordinary life. More inclusive settings are provided at district schools in the form of special classes with a smaller number of students, who have particular intellectual disabilities or speech disorders. They are taught by specialist instructors, aided by school support officers. Thus, the students are not exempt from school life and at the same time can get professional assistance. Some mainstream schools provide additional remedial work in resource rooms, where individually or in small groups dyslexic or slower students get instruction after classes to help them catch up with peers and develop their potential. Opponents to segregation, however, argue that being in a special education class carries with it a stigma, causing trauma which can outweigh the severity of the disability.

Special Education: Selected full-text books and articles

Comparing Special Education: Origins to Contemporary Paradoxes By John G. Richardson; Justin J. W Powell Stanford University Press, 2011
Special Educational Needs in the Early Years By Ruth A. Wilson RoutledgeFalmer, 2003 (2nd edition)
Achieving Equity in Special Education: History, Status, and Current Challenges By Skiba, Russell J.; Simmons, Ada B.; Ritter, Shana; Gibb, Ashley C.; Rausch, M. Karega; Cuadrado, Jason; Chung, Choong-Geun Exceptional Children, Vol. 74, No. 3, Spring 2008
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Nature and Use of Curriculum in Special Education By Jatala, Sara J.; Seevers, Randy L Academic Exchange Quarterly, Vol. 10, No. 1, Spring 2006
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Contemporary Special Education Research: Syntheses of the Knowledge Base on Critical Instructional Issues By Russell Gersten; Ellen P. Schiller; Sharon Vaughn Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2000
Lessons from Special Education Research By Sindelar, Paul T.; Bishop, Anne G.; Brownell, Mary T.; Rosenberg, Michael S.; Connelly, Vincent J Teacher Education Quarterly, Vol. 32, No. 3, Summer 2005
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Issues in Educating Students with Disabilities By Edward J. Kameenui; David Chard; John Wills Lloyd Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1997
The Least Restrictive Environment: Its Origins and Interpretations in Special Education By Jean B. Crockett; James M. Kauffman Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1999
Inclusion: Policy and Practice By Thomas P. Lombardi Phi Delta Kappa Educational Foundation, 1999
ICT and Special Educational Needs: A Tool for Inclusion By Lani Florian; John Hegarty Open University Press, 2004
Special Education Teacher Quality and Preparation: Exposing Foundations, Constructing a New Model By Brownell, Mary T.; Sindelar, Paul T.; Kiely, Mary Theresa; Danielson, Louis C Exceptional Children, Vol. 76, No. 3, Spring 2010
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Rethinking Professional Issues in Special Education By James L. Paul; Carolyn D. Lavely; Ann Cranston-Gingras; Ella L. Taylor Ablex Publishing, 2002
Evaluation of a Merged Secondary and Special Education Program By Fullerton, Ann; Ruben, Barbara J.; McBride, Stephanie; Bert, Susan Teacher Education Quarterly, Vol. 38, No. 2, Spring 2011
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Experiences of Special Education: Re-Evaluating Policy and Practice through Life Stories By Derrick Armstrong RoutledgeFalmer, 2004
Librarian’s tip: Includes discussion of special education in Great Britain
On Your Own without a Net: The Transition to Adulthood for Vulnerable Populations By D. Wayne Osgood; E. Michael Foster; Constance Flanagan; Gretchen R. Ruth University of Chicago Press, 2007
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 9 "Transition Experiences of Young Adults Who Received Special Education Services as Adolescents: A Matter of Policy"
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