Course Tutors: Sandra Sikanku
: Larbi-Appiah Naa Korkor
CATEGORIES OF SPECIAL EDUCATIONAL NEEDS AND DISABILITIES
Categories of Special Educational Needs
- Emotional and Behaviour Difficulties
- Intellectual Difficulties
- Gifted and Talented Children
- Mild, moderate, severe and profound disabilities
- Learning Disability
iii. Sensory Impairment – comprises (a). Visual Impairment and (b)Hearing Impairment
- Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome
- Communication Difficulties
- Physical and Health Impairment
Emotional and Behaviour Difficulties (EBD)
There is no universally accepted definition of what Emotional and Behavioural Disorders is. Why? because, of contextual reasons for example, what may be accepted as an appropriate behaviour in a particular context may seem inappropriate in another context.
- Hallahan and Kaufman (1997), defined emotional and behavioural disorder as:
Behaviour that goes to an extreme-that is not just slightly different from the usual.
- Ocloo et. al (2005) defined EBD as a disability that is characterised by behaviour and emotional responses which interfere with the learning opportunity of other pupils and imposes undue stress on the teacher.
- Behaviour that is unacceptable because of social or cultural expectations.
- A problem that is chronic-one that does not quickly disappear.
Measuring Emotional and Behaviour Disorders (EBD)
How do you know a behaviour is appropriate or inappropriate?
The following can be used to consider whether a behaviour is appropriate or inappropriate, consider the following:
- Frequency of occurrence: How often the behaviour is performed.
- Duration: How long the behaviour is engaged in.
- Intensity/Magnitude: Degree with which the behaviour occurs.
- Stimulus Control: The stimulus that prompts the particular behaviour.
- Topography: The shape of the behaviour.
- Sex/age: Sexual orientations may differ and age may dictate what behaviours are appropriate or not.
- The situational context: At certain times and occasions certain behaviours can be judged as abnormal.
The Cultural context: Certain behaviours that are frowned upon are considered as normal in others
Quay’s (1989) classification system is most often cited in literature.
- Conduct disorders: g. Disruptive, bossy, violation of rules, disrespect, fights,
temper tantrum, hyperactive (restless), impulsive etc
- Personality disorders: e.g. Withdrawal, inattentiveness, shyness, unhappiness, guilt, statements of worry (anxiety), depression etc.
iii. Immaturity: e.g. Extreme passivity, short attention span, preference for younger playmates, etc.
- Socialised aggression: e.g. Gang membership, substance abuse, sexual irresponsibility (rape and defilement) etc.
In recent times, some authorities have included:
- Attention –Deficit Hyperactive Disorders (ADHD)
Causes of Emotional and Behavioural Disorders
They can be either biological or environmental or both.
- Biological factors include: transmission of defective chromosomes and genes (e.g. those with Down’s Syndrome often exhibit some forms of behavioural disorders)
- Environmental factors include:
- parental neglect and abuse,
- peer pressure or influence,
- mass media (particularly watching aggressive films), and
- Poor school climate.
- Medical model – It is used if the condition is medically-oriented. Use medication.
- Psychodynamic model: Linked directly to Sigmund Freud’s notions of drives, tension, emotions and conflicts. Use psychotherapy to manage the behaviour. Let the individual voice out what has been bottled up.
- Humanistic model – When a person is not in touch with himself/herself. Use counselling to help the individual to recognise and use his/her potential.
- Behavioural model: Behaviourists believe that all maladaptive behaviours are learned, hence can simply be unlearned through the use of reinforcement and punishment.
Ecosystemic model: Thrives on the assumption that our social environment predisposes us to certain behaviours. Identify and remove all environmental conditions that influence the child’s behaviour.
- Seat the student in an area of the classroom that will minimise distractions.
- Teach the alternative behaviours to replace inappropriate ones.
- Have occasional chats with the pupil on your expectations, from him /her during free time.
- Reward the child’s desirable behaviour openly, and ignore or reprimand bad ones quietly and privately.
- Establish clearly stated classroom rules regarding pupils’ behaviour and interaction.
- Provide counselling to parents of such children.
- Group pupils together for completing assignments.
Applied Behaviour Analysis
Consequences that increase behaviour
- Use positive or negative reinforcement
- Use Premack’s principle (what the student likes most can be used to help him/her do what he or she likes least.
- Token Economy
- Contingency Contract
- Task analysis
Applied Behaviour Analysis cont’d
Arranging consequences that decrease behaviour
- Response cost
- Time out procedures
– Non seclusionary time out
– Exclusionary time out
– Seclusionary time out
GIFTED AND TALENTED
The United States Congress (P.L. 97-35) Education Consolidation and Improvement Act, sec 582, 1981) sees the gifted as:
- Children who give evidence of high performance capabilities in areas such as intellectual, creative, artistic, leadership capability, or specific academic fields, and who require services or activities not ordinarily provided by the school in order to fully develop such capabilities.
- Though both terms are sometimes used interchangeably, they are not the same.
- Giftedness is confined to intellectual and academic performance while talentedness is limited to artistic areas such as drumming, painting, dancing, playing football etc.
Talents are expressed in the form of psychomotor abilities and skills such as artistic, drumming, sports, music and so on. Note that, a talented person may or may not be intellectually efficient.
Three Distinctive Characteristics of Gifted and Talented Individuals
Renzulli (1978) in Callahan (2009) gave three distinctive characteristics to the term. These are:
- Above-average general abilities,
- A high level of task commitment, and
Types of Intelligences
General performance includes areas such as: Law, visual arts, Life science, Philosophy, Social sciences, Language arts, Music, and religion
Specific skills involve: astronomy, film making, electronics, advertising, navigation, journalism, weaving, cooking, furniture design, chemistry, demography, play writing, meteorology, city planning, landscape architecture, wildlife management, child care,
Characteristics of the Gifted
Silverman, (1995) as cited by Heward (1996), has identified the following characteristics for the “highly gifted”.
- Intense intellectual curiosity
- Fascination with words and ideas
- Need for precision
- Learning in great intuitive leaps
- Intense need for mental stimulation
- Difficulty conforming to the thinking of others
- Early moral and existential concern
- Tendency toward introversion (p.539)
Characteristics of the Gifted
- Learns rapidly, easily, efficiently
- Prefers to work alone.
- They express ideas and feelings meaningfully.
- They retain and retrieve information with ease;
- They are conscientious and have sound judgment;
- Has a vocabulary above that of classmates
- Displays curiosity and imagination
- Goes beyond the minimum required with assignments
- Follows through on tasks
- He or she is original in oral and written expression
Problems of the Gifted and Talented Individuals
- They become bored with unchallenging school curriculum and classroom task
- Unable to withstand routine activities
- Perceived as stubborn, wilful, and uncooperative by teachers and punish them.
- Yield to group pressure in order to conceal their exceptionality by performing poorly.
- Refusal to take part in activities that they do not excel.
- May be considered to be inquisitive.
- They may be isolated and rejected by their peers
- Seek protection by helping influential members in the class with assignments.
- Give the opportunity to the student to do extra work in class.
- Add to the curricular topics that are not usually included in the traditional curriculum.
- Let the student do academic subject in more depth and detail.
- Include co-curricular activities.
- Early admission to school.
- Grade skipping: Ask the student to move to higher classes quickly.
- Content acceleration: Ask the student to add one or two subjects to what he/she is already learning with peers while he/she remains in the same class.
- Curriculum compacting or telescoping: Compress the instructional content and materials so that the gifted and talented students have more time to work on challenging materials.
- Ability grouping: Put all with similar abilities together to perform some assignments.
- Independent study: Let them perform certain tasks which are challenging alone.
- Mentorship programme: Assign them to role models to mentor them.
What is Intellectual Disability? Grossman (1983) refers to intellectual disability as: significantly sub-average general intellectual functioning associated with deficits in adaptive behaviour, and manifested during the developmental period (0-18 years). Note that this definition is based on Intelligence quotient.
Intellectual disability: Definition
Intellectual disability refers to substantial limitations in present functioning characterised by:
- significantly sub-average intellectual functioning,
- existing concurrently with related limitations in two or more of the following applicable: communication, self-care, home living, social skills, community use, self-direction, health and safety, functional academics, leisure, and work. Intellectual disability
- manifests before age 18. (Luckasson Coulter, Polloway, Reiss, Schalock, Snell, Spitalnik & Stark, 1992). The definition is based on the type of support the individual needs
Types of Intellectual Disabilities
- Mildly disabled (IQ – 50-69): They are capable of achieving educational goals so can be taught basic academic skills.
- Moderately disabled (IQ – 35-49): They can be trained to acquire self –help or daily living or functional skills.
- Severely disabled (IQ – 20-34): Require considerable supervision throughout life. Cannot get around town independently.
- Profoundly disabled (IQ BELOW 20): Also known as custodial or vegetables. Caretakers are needed to meet their physical (basic) and medical needs.
Classification Based on Type of Support Provided
- Intermittent: They need occasional support.
- Limited: Support provided for a short period of time.
- Extensive: They require daily support.
- Pervasive: They need constant and intensive support on one-on-one
- Weak in all academic skills
- Communication, language and speech disorders
- Learn very little or not at all on their own from objects, events and activities in the environment
- Problems in transfer of learning and generalisation
- Poor memory
- Attention problems/deficits
- Poor in abstract concept
- Emotional problems
- Social problems
- Problem with self-help skills
- Low self-esteem
Causes of Intellectual Disabilities
- Genetic condition such as chromosomal disorders, example Down’s Syndrome.
- Environmental conditions
- Drugs used by mother during prenatal period.
- Maternal malnutrition.
- Diseases such as syphilis, mumps, rubella (German measles) and meningitis.
- Irradiation (x-ray).
- Lead poisoning (from paints) etc.
- Demonstrate what is to be done rather than simply telling them what to do.
- Use simple words when giving instruction and check that the pupil has understood.
- Use real or concrete objects
- Use task analysis (i.e. break major task into learning bits)
- Give plenty of praise and encouragement.
- Give extra practice at doing the task (over-learning)
- Provide prompt feedback.
- Use modelling.
- Ignore undesirable behaviour
Learning disability is generally regarded as a heterogeneous thus (different) group of disorders. It comprises conditions such as severe difficulties in spelling, reading, writing, written expression, mathematics, listening and thinking (Lerner, 2000).
The term ‘Specific Learning Disability’ means those children who have a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, which disorder may manifest itself in imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or to do mathematical calculation (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act [IDEA] 1997).
Elements in the Definition
There are five essential elements one has to consider in defining the term learning disability. These are:
- The presence of central nervous system dysfunction which is presumed and determined through the behaviour the person exhibits.
- Uneven growth pattern and psychological processing deficits.
- Difficulties in academic and learning tasks.
- Discrepancy between potential and achievement: (see remarks such as ‘Could have done better’, ‘Room for improvement’ and so on).
- Exclusion of other causes. They don’t happen because of other disabilities
Types of Learning Disabilities
- Dyslexia=========Inability to read
- Dyscalculia=======Inability to do mathematics
- Dysgraphia=======Inability to write
- Aphasia==========Inability to speak
- Apraxia=========Inability to exercise previously
- Agnosia=========Inability to interpret visual and auditory cues
- Perceptual-motor problems: They have problems copying from the chalkboard. Likely to repeat, omit or reverse letters or words.
- Attention deficits: Difficulty paying attention to on-going tasks. Likely to be distracted by objects around them.
- Memory problems: Difficulty storing and retrieving (recall) information. May find it difficult recalling/narrating an accident they have witnessed.
- Social-emotional problems: Encounter difficulties interacting with others. May be unable to take turns in conversation or sharing their items with others.
- Language disorders: Have difficulties listening to and communicating with others.
- Motivational problems: There is external instead of internal locus of control (They express learned helplessness). Feel they will fail no matter how hard they try.
- Use mnemonics
- Assign tasks he or she can do
- Sit child in front of class to check on him on her.
- Apply individualised instruction
- Use sufficient practice work
- Provide constant counselling
- Use cooperative learning or small group instruction
- Task analysis (Break down major task into teachable or learning bits).
- Use prompts or cues
- Use peer tutoring
- Use positive reinforcement
- Use learning centres
- Make information concrete
- Use role model
- Make less use of teacher-centred or directed instruction
Meaning of Communication: It is the process of exchanging information and ideas which involves the sender, the message and the receiver.
It can be:
- Verbal (speech and talking), and
- Non-verbal (gestures and facial expressions).
Communication disorders are disorders found in speech and language.
Speech and Language
Meaning of Speech: It is the systematic oral production of the words of a given language (Kirk, Gallagher & Anastasiou, 2000).
Meaning of Language: It is a system used by a group of people for giving meaning to sounds, words, gestures and other symbols to enable communication with one another.
Lahey (1988) has defined language as a code whereby ideas about the world are expressed through conventional system of or arbitrary signals for communication (p.2).
Speech Disorders: Speech is abnormal ‘when it deviates so far from the speech of other people that it called attention to itself, interferes with communication, or causes the speaker or his listeners to be distressed’ (Van Riper & Emerick, 1984, p.34).
It falls into three categories namely:
- Disorders of articulation – phonology e.g. ‘blown blead’ for brown bread or ‘wight’ for write;
- Disorders of fluency and speech timing e.g. stammering or stuttering; and
- Disorders of voice – have to do with the quality, loudness and pitch.
Language disorders: They are either expressive disorders (i.e. giving out information) or receptive disorders (receiving or taking in information).
- Form of language
- Phonology: concerned with the sound system of a language and the rules governing the sound combinations.
- Morphology: concerned with the system governing the structure of words and the construction of word forms.
- Syntax: concerned with the system governing the order and combination of words to form sentences, and the relationships among the elements within a sentence.
- Content of Language
- Semantics: concerned with the system governing the meanings of words and sentences.
- Function of Language
Pragmatics: concerned with the system that combines the above language components in functional and socially appropriate communication.
It can be seen from the type of disorder the person experiences.
Tendency to withdraw from their colleagues especially during conversations
- They require assistance in the development of receptive and expressive skills.
- Focus instruction on the area of need.
- Encourage students to ask about the meanings of words they do not understand.
- Use demonstrations to teach the meanings of some words e.g. Use of prepositions.
- Use definitions, explanations and examples to teach other words.
- Provide multiple examples of words meaning
- Include vocabulary instructions in all curriculum. Teach the meaning of new reading words, new math terms, and new vocabulary in sciences and social studies.
- Give students opportunities throughout the school day to practice the new vocabulary.
- Instigate interactions between delayed pupils and their non-handicapped peers.
- Reword or repeat a message students do not understand.
- Allow auditory training (listening skills)
- Teach language in various natural setting.
Meaning: It is the inability of a person to effectively use his/her body due to problems with the gross and/or fine motor abilities.
Gross motor skills include throwing, lifting, running, skipping and jumping.
Fine motor skills involve activities such as cutting, writing, drawing, threading, buttoning and lacing to mention but a few.
Types of Physical Disorders
There are two main types conditions are:
- Neurological or orthopaedic, and
- Musculoskeletal conditions.
- Neurological or orthopaedic: They stem from the brain the spinal cord and network of nerves and directly linked to the central nervous system. Examples are:
- Cerebral palsy: it is also known as seizure disorder and refers to a disorder of movement caused by damage to the motor control centres of the brain (Batshaw, 1997; Dorman & Pellegrino, 1998).
- Epilepsy: It occurs when the brain cells are not properly working.
- Spinal cord injury: It is a defect in the backbone.
They affect the muscles, bones and joints. Examples include
- Muscular dystrophy: It is a muscle disease and affect movement..
- Arthritis: They affect the joints (swollen and stiff joints).
- Cleft lip: Openings in the lip
- Cleft palate: Openings in the roof of the mouth
- Polio and clubfoot. Clubfoot is an ankle or foot deformity
They are present at birth hence congenital disorder.
It depends on the part of the body which is defective.
- Cerebral palsy: The individual experiences problems in voluntary movement and delays in gross and fine motor development.
- Epilepsy: It causes a person to lose control of the muscles temporarily. In major crisis, the person experiences sudden jerking motions. Partial seizure could make the child smack his/her lips, shout or walk aimlessly (Heward, 1996).
Generally, children with musculoskeletal conditions have physical limitations. They may encounter difficulties holding pencil to write.
- Need for physical accommodations to participate in school activities.
- Physical presence, but mental absence.
- Poor motor coordination.
- Frequent falls.
- Speech difficult to understand.
- Using a stick to walk.
- Difficulty in sitting, standing or walking.
- Joint pains.
- Jerks in walking.
- Deformity in neck, hand, finger, waist, leg
- Congenital: The condition is present at birth. It may be due to prenatal period or complications resulting from the birth process.
- Acquired: They arise principally from diseases and accidents.
The cause of spina bifida is considered unknown (Kirk, Gallagher & Anastasiow, 2000).
It should be dependent on the child’s physical capabilities and individual needs. The following facilities should be available:
- Mobility equipment: (e.g. braces, wheel chairs, crutches and walkers);
- Accessibility to public building: (e.g. ramps, wider entrances and doorways to allow for the easy passage of a wheelchair); and
iii. Instructional materials and classroom equipment: (e.g. book stands to hold a book; elastic or rubber bands to hold the page of an open book, special pencil holders, hand splints to help in grasping a pen or pencil, clipboard to hold paper while writing and slant board to support forearms.
- Arrange the classroom to facilitate mobility.
- All areas and activities in the classroom should be accessible to students.
- Ensure seating arrangement is suitable. Wheelchair users may need special table or cupboard to write on or arm or foot rest.
- Allow the student to select their own seats.
- Classmates should offer assistance when needed.
- Choose tasks that require students to work together. Emphasise on cooperation rather competition.
- Create Learning centres.
- Tape the student’s paper to the desk with a piece of masking tape applied to the top and bottom of the paper.
- Attach one end of a string to a pencil or pen and the other end to the desk so that the student can easily retrieve a dropped pencil or pen.
- Allow students to consider questions orally or have them record the answers for later evaluation.
- Contact professionals to provide services for the students e.g. physiotherapists.
- Help the student to develop organisational skills by keeping books and materials within easy reach.
- Provide the student with more time to complete class work.
- Break down assignments into smaller tasks.
Meaning: They are conditions related to health and required on- going medical attention.
They can be chronic or intermittent / temporary.
Chronic ones can seriously affect academic or school performance and social acceptance.
Types of Health Impairment
Health Impairments are of several types. They include:
Metabolic disorders, and cardiopulmonary conditions.
- Metabolic disorders: They are concerned with metabolism – the break-down of food substances in the body. An example is diabetes. Early symptoms include weight loss, headaches and thirst. Heward (1996) reports that children with diabetes have insufficient insulin, an hormone that is produced by the pancreas for breaking down foods.
- Cardiopulmonary conditions: They are diseases found in the heart, lung and blood. Examples include:
- Asthma: It is a lung disease usually characterised by difficulty in breathing.
- Cystic fibrosis: Persons with this disease experience difficulty breathing. They may have large and frequent bowel movement since food is not well digested.
Characteristics and Management Strategies
- Many school absences.
- Limited vitality and energy.
- Accommodate absence from school for medical purpose.
- Have a school nurse to regularly monitor child and supervise medication where necessary.
- Autism is a Greek word “autos” and means “self”.
- The first person to use the word autism was Leo Kanner of John Hopkins Hospital.
- This was in 1943 when he reported on eleven children with striking behavioural similarities.
- Leo used the label ‘early infantile autism’.
- Asperger’s syndrome was named after Hans Asperger in 1944.
- He used it to describe children in his practice who lacked nonverbal communication skills, failed to demonstrate empathy with their peers and were physically clumsy..
- Heward (1996), defined autism as ‘a condition marked by severe impairment of intellectual, social and emotional functioning’ (p. 489). It appears before the child is 30 months i.e. two-and-a-half years old. Winzer (1999) identified autism as:a rare, severely and permanently disabling developmental disorder with a suspected but poorly understood neurological basis. It reveals itself in fleeting eye contact, the failure to form attachments, and disrupted relationships. Children who are autistic have difficulty developing language skills, learning to communicate and relating. Many function at pre-academics levels and fail to develop basic self-care skills and language (p. 465).
- The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) as cited by Okyere and Adams (2003, p. 246) define autism as: a developmental disability significantly affecting verbal and non-verbal communication and social interaction usually evident before age three, that adversely affects a child’s educational performance. Other characteristics often associated with autism are engagement in repetitive activities and stereotyped movement, resistance to environmental change or change in daily routines, and unusual sensory experiences (Department of Education, 1991, p. 271).
Generally, children with autism:
- have cognitive difficulties and experience problems performing academic tasks;
- are socially incompetent. Experiences difficulties forming relationship. Inability to maintain eye contact and relating with others;
- have difficulty behaving appropriately. When their routine is disturbed, they can throw temper tantrums;
- have communication, language and speech difficulties.
Characteristics of the Autistic Individuals
There are six distinct characteristics. Lovaas and Newsom (1976 cited by Heward, 1996, pp.489-490) list them as:
- Apparent sensory deficit (seem to be blind or deaf).
- Severe affect isolation (lack of interest towards cuddling or affection).
- Self-stimulation (making oneself happy by rocking, flapping, spinning objects, etc).
- Tantrum and self-mutilatory behaviour (attacks, destroys or injure oneself easily).
- Echolalia and psychotic speech (repeating what is heard over and over).
- Behaviour deficiencies (inappropriate behaviour considering their ages).
Traits to Watch
From the annals of the Autism Society of America cited in Holmes (1997, p. 13), an autistic child should exhibit at least half of the following traits:
- Difficulty in mixing with other children.
- Insistence on sameness; resists change in routine.
- Inappropriate laughing and giggling.
- No real fear of danger.
- Little or no eye contact.
- Unresponsive to normal teaching methods.
- Sustained odd play.
- Apparent insensitivity to pain.
- Echolalia (repeating words or phrases in place of normal language).
- Prefers to be alone; aloof manner.
- May not want cuddling or act cuddly.
- Spins objects.
- Noticeable physical over activity or extreme under activity.
- Tantrums-displays extreme distress for no apparent reason.
- Not responsive to verbal cues; acts as if deaf.
- Inappropriate attachment to objects.
- Uneven gross/fine motor skills (may not want to kick ball but can stack blocks).
- Difficulty in expressing needs; uses gestures or pointing instead of words.
Stakes and Hornby (2001, p.16) provide the following strategies for managing the autistic child:
- Ensure you have the child’s attention before giving instruction.
- Start from what the child knows and go at the pace of the child.
- Break task down into small steps, teaching one step at a time.
- Use level of language appropriate for the child, accompanied by appropriate gestures.
- Focus on oral language and daily living skills.
- Work on social skills such as eye contact and asking for something.
- Give enough information for the child to complete task as independently as possible.
- Present materials in an organised manner not too much at one time.
- Present appropriate level of prompts, ideally before the child responds incorrectly.
- Include lot of repetition, praise and encouragement.
- Provide the child with clear feedback with regard to their behaviour and work.
- Reward desirable behaviour; withdraw privileges for misbehaviour.
- Ignore annoying behaviour; use ‘time out’ for disruptive behaviour.
- Work closely with parents, other teachers and specialists.
- Participate in Individual Education Plan (IEP) meetings at school.
- Decide priorities for what the child needs to learn.
- Focus on the child’s happiness, confidence and self-esteem.