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Special Education for Exceptional Children

Emotionally disturbed” & “behaviorally disordered”

The terms, ‘emotionally disturbed’ and ‘behaviorally disordered’ are associated with emotional impairment, conduct disorder, and behavioral challenges (handicap). Behaviorally handicapped children exhibit adverse behaviors making them considered handicapped. These children thus need special education for personal adjustment.

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Teachers perceive children who are behaviorally disordered to have credible chances of succeeding in class. Reasons for this belief are that the term is less stigmatizing and friendlier. The term is not associated with any theory while emotionally disturbed is associated with psychodynamic theory (Zionts, Zionts & Simpson, 2002).

Normal and disordered behavior can be identified through various factors. The general conduct, concentration, hyperactivity, attention deficit and withdrawal behaviors of a child can be used to identify weather the child is normal or disordered. General conduct of a disordered child is usually characterized with violence, destruction of property and is undependable. They can sit still for long periods, avoid interaction with others and show functional disorders.

The assessment measures for identifying weather a student has emotional disabilities are usually subjective. The methods involve checking factors such as the intensity of the student’s problem, its pattern and the duration that the student has had the problem. These give teachers and parent the ability to identify the problem and the necessary intervention (Marshall, 2009).

A functional analysis has to be conducted before an intervention is made mainly to assist in developing a plan and enable review of the child’s behavior. Functional analysis is an activity done to help understand how the environment influences a child’s behavior. It involves reviewing the records and results of previous interventions, interviewing the child and additional observation of the child’s behavior.

Behaviorally disordered children like indulging in self-injury and they are usually aware of their actions. Ethical issues regarding self-injury mainly involve mental capacity of the concerned individual and confidentiality. There has to be consent to allow treatment of the person since he is likely to be considered as mentally ill (Zionts, Zionts & Simpson, 2002).

Children with autism have to be taught communication skills to help them engage in social interaction. It also enables children with autism not to rely on others since they will be able to communicate their needs and wants. Additionally, it helps in elimination of maladaptive behaviors that the children have (Dyrbjerg, 2006). Research proven methods of teaching autistic children includes structuring of the environment with objects with different shapes, structuring of the children routines, use of peer mediation and use of stimulus modification (Dyrbjerg, 2006). There are also arguments about where they should be taught. These arguments can be combated by developing specialized programs that effectively address challenges that the strategies face.

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The main strategy that has not been very effective in teaching autistic children is use of body contact. This occurs since autistic kids have deprived capability to construe body language. Some of dangers of implementing this strategy would be withdrawal of the child and physical contact can be stressful to the child.

Communication Disorders

Communication disorders are not handicapping in situations where the concerned disorders do not lead to blurting of odd sounds, allow recall and use of words, and when the quality of voice is not hoarse. Conditions in which communication disorder can lead to limitations to the individual include when it is accompanied with expressive language disorder, articulation disorder and shuttering (Marshall, 2009).

Every child in the United States should be able to speak standard American English regardless of their backgrounds. English is widely used in the United States and is used in majority of businesses and schools. The ability to speak standard American English enables U.S children to easily relate with other people in the country and worldwide.

Obtaining a language sample from a child in a conversation allows transcribing and analysis of the language sample and this assists in knowing correctness of the words, variety of words used and the ability of the child to respond to adult talk. This method of obtaining language samples is reliable and efficient.

The language of children has to be assessed during their interaction since language is an indicator to development of children. Assessment can reveal difficulties that a child has for example communication disorder. It also enables parents and teachers to know how fast a child is able to learn new things.

Hearing Loss- A Disability

Hearing loss occurs when one’s ability to receive sounds diminishes. Many people do not perceive their hearing loss as a disability because of denial. They are in denial due to the value of the ability and fear stigmatization and discrimination (Marshall, 2009). They can undergo a procedure in which cochlear devices are implanted to assist them produce hearing sensations. These implants are useful as hearing is an important ability for humans.

Deaf children with deaf parents are likely to do well in academics because they develop their understanding abilities early. They use abstract language which is simple to learn and have deaf parents who have experience and can teach them. However, parents who are not deaf may not be able to teach their deaf child since they do not have the experience of being deaf. Deaf children with hearing parents can do well if their parents go for counseling and are taught how to teach their child.

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Visual Impairments

Age of onset of visual impairment has considerable effect on the learning abilities of children. This is due to adaptation and adjustment requirements and thus if a child gets impaired when he is much older, then the effect on his ability to learn is gross. Those who become visually impaired at an early age are not affected much by the condition.

The ability to travel alone is important for people who are visually impaired since it removes dependency. Dependency is likely to make these people to need assistance in almost everything and can make them loose some opportunities (Marshall, 2009). The ability also shows that the person is mature and is a functioning human being.

Visual impaired children are easily integrated in regular classes than children who have other disabilities. This is because they have ability to communicate verbally and can travel independently. In addition, they have ability to listen and thus can interact with classmates and teachers easily.

The number of children with physical and health care needs is much higher than the number who actually receives necessary services. A possible explanation is that these services are usually expensive hence most parents do not seek the services. Children from rich families are thus the most likely ones to be going for the necessary services.

The visibility of a disability should not play a major role in educational needs of a student. However, visibility helps teachers to design the appropriate teaching strategy especially if it interferes with the mental functioning of the student. Thus it should play a role only in designing the strategy but not the content of what is to be taught.

The challenge faced is the communication of ideas. This occurs in case of communication difficulties. My inability to prove my intellectual abilities can also result from ridicule. Challenges that the teacher may face in trying to provide opportunities for me are my slow abilities to adapt. Features of my disability can also make the teacher frustrated.

My biggest fear when working with a medically fragile child is that his condition may become complicated. In such a case if something bad happens, I may not be able to forgive myself. The only possible way of combating this fear is that I have to learn about the condition that the child has. I also have to learn about how to manage the condition and be ready to call a health professional.

Communication skills-Important

Communication skills are important for children with severe learning disabilities in that it helps them pass their ideas. It also enables them to relate to other people and engage in social interactions. Finally, it complements the adaptive behaviors that they have.

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Teachers can shape views that non-disabled students have towards the disabled students by explaining to them the conditions that they have. They can also make the non-disabled and disabled students to work together in assignments and other tasks and monitor them. Additionally, they can shape their attitudes by engaging all students in debates.

Traditional methods of testing intelligence are not effective in testing children with severe disabilities due to various reasons. Intelligence quotient method may require students to do mathematics, carry out tasks that require verbal communication or identify objects yet the disabilities that these students have may not permit them. This makes these methods inappropriate in testing students whose disabilities are profound.

The focus of special education is to aid disables (handicapped individuals) adjustments. It should be on giving disabled children knowledge in order to better perceive the world. Education should not focus on their incapacities. All children are educable, weather they have disabilities or not.


Dyrbjerg, P. (2006). Everyday Education: Visual Support for Children With Autism. London: Jessica Kingsley Pub.

Marshall, C. (2009). Disabilities: Insights from across fields and around the world. Westport, CT: Praeger.

Zionts, P., Zionts, L. & Simpson, R. (2002). Emotional and behavioral problems: A handbook for understanding and handling students / Paul Zionts, Laura Zionts, Richard L. Simpson. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

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