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Anthony Norcia

Mrs. DeBock

English IV Honors

6 April 2017

Special Education

Special education in the United States is a hard fought for privilege often the subject of

constant debate over whether it is a basic right. Whether they suffer from a physical or learning

disability, millions of children every year benefit from this extracurricular teaching. Special

education teachers hold the purpose of keeping children at a good learning pace relative to their

skillset or sometimes act as caretakers, teaching social cues and interaction. Regardless of their

job description, special education teachers are somewhat unsung heroes in this country, doing

some of the most intensive work while seeking no praise and receiving a low salary. Much

debate has swirled recently about not only the importance of these teachers, but the necessity of

them in public schools, which costs the public school system millions of dollars every year. The

role of a special education teacher plays a huge part in a learning disabled students life and

without him/her these children would fall well behind the learning curve.

Children with autism and other learning disabilities require a learning curriculum that

fits their personal skillset and benefits them the greatest. That being said, NASET created a set of

guidelines for creating an effective curriculum for a child with an ASD. First, family

involvement is a hugely important part of creating a learning program that suits an autistic child

(NASET). This provides positive reinforcement and builds confidence in the child which

encourages further learning (NASET). Extensive assessments of skills and abilities are also

necessary when moving forward with a childs learning to stay knowledgeable of strengths and
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deficiencies (NASET). Furthermore, a structured environment is required for a child to thrive in

his/her learning environment (Inclusion Strategies for Students with Autism Spectrum

Disorders). This means a student should always have explicit instructions on what he/she is

expected to complete and a full schedule, followed strictly, of what the class will succeed at

doing over the course of the day (Inclusion Strategies for Students with Autism Spectrum

Disorders). One detail about a curriculum designed for a child who has a learning disability is

that more life and social skills are taught than actual academic content (Talk of The Nation).

Priorities in the classroom are different because the difference in learning abilities. Autistic

children need so much assistance with social skills that it is preferred they focus mainly on these

than learning facts that have no real application.

Special education teachers must refer to various strategies when teaching. These include

mediums that assist them in passing information onto children, in-classroom techniques, and

constant tweaking of curriculum to accommodate their needy students. When discussing use of

technology in special education classrooms one application is above most. An app called Sosh

and is specifically used to treat children with Aspergers, a specific ASD. This app focuses on

social interaction and is based around 5 Rs, relate, recognize, regulate, reason, relax (Dean). The

app is so beneficial because it provides a comfortable learning environment for the child, who

often deal better with a computer than a human (Dean). Sosh offers a variety of features such as a

guide for modern slang and interpreting sentences that do not quite compute in their heads,

conversational skills, listening exercises, eye contact guidance, and even an appropriate voice

level for children who struggle with volume (Dean). One feature of the Sosh application that

stands above the rest is the calming mechanism built into the program which puts off user

frustration, according to Dean. While in the classroom, teachers must also remain conscious of
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how their student is feeling and their comfort level at that moment, the more comfortable a

student is the more lucrative the learning environment (Inclusion Strategies for

Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders). Eye contact is another essential component in the

classroom for teachers because it reinforces eye contact with the students so they transfer it over

to their peers (Inclusion Strategies for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders). Since all

students are different another in classroom adjustment would be adjusting seating arrangements

or switching teaching styles could potentially benefit students in the long run especially for

someone who is deficient to begin with, an optimal learning environment is key (Inclusion

Strategies for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders). Finally, positive OR negative

reinforcement both benefit a student in the classroom because it keeps said student motivated and

on task with the ultimate goal (Inclusion Strategies for Students with Autism Spectrum

Disorders). Depending on the child these tools and strategies vary in effectiveness.

Reading how important special education is to disabled children, one would be surprised

that all special education programs are in limbo as of this moment. What? Yes. There debate on

whether special education is a right or privilege is currently on the floor of the United States

Supreme (Brown). This is the first time IDEA, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, has

been questioned since it was upheld in 1982; an overturn of this bill would result in major

cutbacks in all areas of public school provided special education (Brown). Without these

programs children would fall far behind the learning curve and could not function in an everyday

setting (Brown). Why not pay extra for your child to receive special education you ask? Well this

option can become very expensive and for those who cannot afford the expense it is unfair and

only hurts the child further. Even with IDEA in place, massive debts are accumulated without

reimbursement to those who make original payments. The act is designed to cover all special
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education expenses including reimbursement of all specialized classes and teachers yet under ten

percent actually receive such compensation (Talk of The Nation). A real life example of IDEA

failing to accommodate special needs is the case of a family who look to begin a school for

visually impaired students since they themselves care for a child with a vision disability

(Richert). But for whatever reason, IDEA does not sponsor this school leaving this family's goal

out of reach and the child without specialized education for his/her eyesight (Richert). This

shows exactly how flawed the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act is and instead of being

at risk of repealment, should be subject of reform.

Special education and teachers play a huge role in disabled students life and without

these programs and special individuals many children would be left far behind. The needs of

these special students must be met specifically with precision to provide an optimal learning

environment. Curriculum standards are the most important aspect of special education and it is

important that sight is not lost when concocting a learning program. To go along with student

needs, strategies used by teachers in the classroom and how they manage students are also

important to how special needs students progress over time. Without this education, many

students in the U.S. would not grow to be functioning in society or families without the means to

put their children through expensive special ed would struggle through debt for years to come.

All of this comes down to legislation in Washington; IDEA is a bill supporting education for

disabled individuals and should stay in place as a precedent for requirements of government

issued special education. However, without reform to the bill, many special educated students

will be left in the dark.

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Works Cited

"6 Inclusion Strategies for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders." Inclusion Strategies for

Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders - Reaching Every Learner: Differentiating

Instruction in Theory and Practice. Web. 23 Mar. 2017.

Brown, Emma. "Supreme Court to decide: What level of education do public schools legally owe
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to students with disabilities?" Washington Post, 10 Jan. 2017. Opposing Viewpoints in


Dean, Rick. "Apps Can Help Special Needs Students Improve Social Skills." What Is the Role of

Technology in Education?, edited by Judeen Bartos, Greenhaven Press, 2013. At Issue.

Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Accessed 23 Feb. 2017.

"NASET.org Home Page." NASET News Alert RSS. 27 Jan. 2011. Web. 22 Mar. 2017

Richert, Mark. "Children with Disorders Need Special Education." Genetic Disorders, edited by

Katherine Swarts, Greenhaven Press, 2009. Opposing Viewpoints. Opposing Viewpoints

in Context

"Schools Strive to Meet Needs of Autistic Students." Talk of the Nation, 21 Aug. 2007.

Opposing Viewpoints in Context