Educational Programs and Treatment Methods
Knowledge about what children and their families are like can determine the rational organization of educational programs and specific treatment methods. Often, however, things do not work out quite that way. Ideological and fiscal considerations are also important components of all practical planning, and sometimes these are all that is involved because so little is known about children. It is also often true that these ideological and fiscal factors sometimes drive the scientific effort rather than the reverse. However, in the long run, education and treatment are validated or rejected through the test of experience. Thus, a combination of ideology, budget, and knowledge inform the best programs.
In this chapter, we review factors important in educational programs and treatment methods. We emphasize first the importance of family participation and the attitudes of teachers and caregivers because they are perhaps the most important factors in determining the long-term success or failure of any specific treatment program. Then we review some general programmatic approaches in schools, such as early education, the use of computers in instruction, mainstreaming, and peer instruction.
The heart of the chapter is a review of recent evaluations of specific treatment methods that we have not covered before, that seem to be significant, and for which there is reasonably substantial formal assessment with children with handicaps. The review leaves out widely used treatment methods such as some rehabilitation programs, activity therapy, art therapy, most medical procedures, most speech therapy, and physical therapy. This is