The very identity of further education in finding interventions with students with severe disabilities has been deconstructed from its original inception. The article describes several evidence-based practices that have been used over the years in trying to build more effective educational system for students with cognitive disability. First, the article defines cognitive disability and emphasizes on the State’s inability to accurately account for students’ achievement and the implementation of effective structural techniques within classrooms.
These descriptions assume homogeneity that promotes an oversimplified, outdated way of research, which is helpful in allowing well researched debate. For these reasons, intervention practices seem to have lost focus hence the reason for this research to re-emphasize the topic. In this regard, the authors identifies the research question they will be addressing by stating the purpose of the study as finding access to general curriculum and describes several evidence based practices that supports the literature as well as highlighting some of their strength and limitations (Spooner et al, 2006, p.227).
On the introduction paragraph, Spooner and his colleagues (2006) mentions … “a research priority provided support for projects advancing and improving the knowledge base and improving the practice of professionals, parents, and others providing early intervention, special education, and related services” (p.228).
It introduces the reader to the major players in the general curriculum access in support for project advancement while giving the highest priority to students with severe disabilities. Here, the authors offer new information by including collaborative activities of parents and the community in helping the special needs students achieve their goals, a strategy that has been given less emphasis in the previous studies. The population that will be affected will be struggling students with low performing grades requiring resource capital intervention to improve on their academics as well as functional life skills (Spooner et al, 2006, p.229).
Important Points and Result
The article mentions government interventions in support of cognitive disability to include funding policy and highlights research projects that have been directed to increase Access to the General Education Curriculum for Students with Cognitive Disability. In support of this analysis, the article does not provide any statistical evidence of successful interventions or rather students who have succeeded through the in support of their successful implementation.
The article also misses to provide a detailed analysis of both qualitative and quantitative data on the students’ outcomes. The authors included limited research by mentioning just a few scholars who had consistently found the program useful in improving learning disabilities and established a command in basic vocabulary (Spooner et al, 2006, p.230).
The article did not extensively describe and defined what cognitive disability is. It should have started by mentioning multiple dimensions required of students with severe disabilities in acquiring reading abilities both academically and functional life skills relative to the reading curriculum. Secondly, the text used in this article did not reflected on direct experiences and needs of such students by failing to mention how participants were chosen, their background, the learning progress, and even include the location of the intervention. Thirdly, the article did not analyze and address how the special needs students met their barriers and related to their general educational activities. In this regard, the authors did not give details describing current conditions or why suggestions for change were needed.
The authors offer as new information by mentioning how the special program is aligned with the general curriculum but misses to account for all students that have participated in the program by tracking their performance standards overtime to measure the effectiveness of the program. Here, the description and documentation of the entire process is very important as it increases readers understanding of the General Educational Curriculum for students with Significant Cognitive Disability by launching a thorough investigation on what and how their program is special, what the curriculum entails, and detailed analysis of both qualitative and quantitative data on the students’ outcomes.
The article mentions four approaches that have been documented to access to general curriculum to include what Spooner and his colleagues (2006) mentions as “peer support, self determination, universal design for learning, teaching and assessing contents standards” (p.228). These interventions are essential components to cognitive disability and take us through steps required to ensure students success. However, the authors do not guide as through a systematic guide in building their literacy foundation and confidence.
My Opinion and Conclusion
The paper attempted to provide a clear focus on most visible support practices but lost focus on the problem statement of the research which should have included their learning needs, educational experiences, their ages while concentrating on their dominant educational needs related to cognitive disability manifested by difficulty in learning. These discrepancies lacked proper statistical analysis and a summary of the results which could have contributed to a sound conclusion and discussion.
In this regard, the data provided in this article was purely theoretical as table and figures were not presented to support the authors’ findings. Conclusively, the most interesting part of the article was where the authors mentioned the implementation of UDL to high school science course which was reported to have increased participation and engagement of students while improving their performances. Here, the author should have stated his hypothesis and perhaps experimental design to test his results. I therefore recommend the authors to extend the conclusion part with knowledge base regarding access to the general education curriculum for students with significant learning disabilities.
Spooner, F., Dymond, S.K., Smith, A., & Craig, K. H. (2006). Introduction to special issues on accessing the general curriculum: What we know and need to know about accessing the general curriculum for students with significant disabilities. Research & Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities, 31 (4), 227-283.