Academic journal article Exceptional Children

Intellectual, Academic, and Behavioral Functioning of Students with High-Incidence Disabilities: A Cross-Categorical Meta-Analysis

Academic journal article Exceptional Children

Intellectual, Academic, and Behavioral Functioning of Students with High-Incidence Disabilities: A Cross-Categorical Meta-Analysis

Article excerpt

It has been well over 25 years since Hallahan and Kauffman (1977) published their seminal piece in The Journal of Special Education entitled, "Labels, Categories, Behaviors: ED, LD, and EMR Reconsidered." In that article the authors concluded that little evidence existed to justify differential special education treatment in the three categories of high-incidence disability--learning disability (LD), mild intellectual disability (MID), and emotional/behavioral disability (E/BD). The authors stated, "It is nearly impossible to separate children meaningfully into these three areas of special education" (p. 144). As a result of opinions typical of those found in Hallahan and Kauffman and others in support of noncategorical special education service delivery (see Algozzine & Ysseldyke, 1983; Marston, 1987; Reschly, Tilly, & Grimes, 1999; Reynolds & Birch, 1977; Ysseldyke & Marston, 1999), and because of public school administrative convenience and cost, many students with the three types of high-incidence disabilities are now educated side-by-side in the same educational environments.

Although Hallahan and Kauffman's (1977) conclusions were an early catalyst for cross-categorical special education service delivery in the schools, more recent opinions on this issue extend far beyond those first offered in the late 1970s. The issue of cross-categorical or noncategorical special education appears far from dead and now more complex than when first brought to light. Ysseldyke and Marston (1999), for example, concluded that categorical special education in the schools is problematic, that it can no longer be justified, and that "diagnostic efforts to differentiate groups should be diminished" (p. 6). Reschly and Tilly (1999) called for elimination of the present categories in special education, especially those related to students with high-incidence disabilities, and use of a noncategorical system with different functional criteria used for eligibility. Tilly, Reschly, and Grimes (1999) recommended a "problem-solving assessment" model for noncategorical special education identification and eligibility, as well as program planning. It is clear that the noncategorical service delivery model has also gained considerable Support. Careful analysis of studies comparing two, or all three, groups should lead to better understanding of all individuals identified as having high-incidence disabilities.

Perhaps the most influential work that may determine whether educators think students with high-incidence disabilities are truly similar or dissimilar for instructional purposes does not originate in research. The President's Commission on Excellence in Special Education (PCESE; 2002), in an effort to streamline identification and eligibility for special education purposes, suggested that the term "developmental disabilities" should include "specific learning disabilities (SLD), speech and language impairments, emotional disturbance, mild mental retardation and developmental delay" (p. 21). The experts on the PCESE did not see the need for continuing the 13 categories of disabilities found in earlier versions of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The Consortium for Citizens With Disabilities (CCD; 2002), a coalition of nearly 100 disability organizations, challenged the conclusions of the PCESE and found it inappropriate to group the various disability categories together. The CCD promised to "fiercely resist" the alteration of the 13 disability categories under the IDEA and stated that the essence of the issue should be whether the current system correctly identifies all who are eligible. Time will tell whether the recommendations of the PCESE are the best way to categorize those with high-incidence disabilities for schooling. One necessity to solve the categorization issue is a comprehensive analysis of research that examined similarities and differences that exist among students in the categories of high-incidence disabilities. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.