The Behaviors of Students With Exceptionalities

In what way(s) has this course impacted your understanding of exceptionalities and provided increased knowledge and understanding of students with exceptionalities

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The course on psychology has immensely enhanced my understanding of various disorders and how teachers can understand as well as associate with students who have been identified with certain exceptionalities. I have also noted that there are myriads of causes of various disabilities that impede the physical and mental well being of individuals. In addition, disorders such as autism and those that negatively affect language can be caused by either genetic and or environmental factors. Besides, the nature of the causes also dictates the severity of the disorder. Notably, as Freud indicated in his personality theory, it is necessary for early diagnosis and screening of individuals so that any disorders identified may be addressed at the right time (Rock, 2008).

In his publication, McIntyre (2007) indicates that the ability to generate the correct method of handling individuals with exceptionalities appears to be the best technique of controlling their behavior and enhancing positive outcomes. Effective understanding of various disorders like autism and other exceptionalities among students as emphasized by the author is the most critical consideration in facilitating the generation of possible intervention mechanisms.

In particular, the overall behavioral patterns which characterize exceptional individuals as well are very crucial in creating a long term focus in their management. Indeed, it is critical for concerned parties, parents, teachers and the communities to understand the development of these behaviors, identify them in advance, and also take appropriate measures before they escalate and worsen off the mental or physical health of the affected persons. Besides, I have also learnt that addressing various exceptionalities especially among students with severe and multiple disabilities is one of the most cumbersome process that teachers have to deal with when the problem occurs.

As Estell et al (2009) point out, teachers are not supposed to diagnose the problems. However, they should be able to identify particular symptoms that are instrumental in determining the mechanisms that they can employ in addressing the emerging health challenges among their students. In any case, teachers should act as the link between learners and medical experts when it comes to initial identification and reporting of certain exceptionalities among students.

During the course of this study, I came to learn that this type of collaboration between teachers and of course medical experts and parents or guardians of learners provides a firm reinforcement system in addressing disabilities especially in a learning environment. According to Rock (2008), teachers should seek to use the necessary reinforcement mechanisms that aim at promoting greater concentration of students suffering from the disorders. The author further explains that a clear motivating mechanism that encourages students to operate in groups should be employed and therefore further discusses and address the problems affecting them.

As indicated earlier, majority of the problems that lead to mental disorders are linked to internalization and belief that they are perhaps the only ones suffering from the same difficulties. However, as Estell et al (2009) indicate, over 80% of the physical or mental disorders can be addressed through discussions. As BF Skinner indicated in his conditioning model, the teacher could specifically attach the benefits of a given ideology related to the sources of stressful condition (Estell et al., 2009). For instance, if the source of the disorders is difficulty in speech and language, the reward may be for the best performer as well as the most improved students in the same topic.

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I have also learnt from Dwight’s psychological reviews that though exceptionalities among the students are caused by the interplay of genetic and environmental factors, lack of the necessary skills to address the causative factors may be quite vital in the recurrence of the same health challenges. There is need for teachers to establish major theoretical and practical approaches that train students on problem solving skills at different levels of learning. At this particular point, McIntyre (2007) suggests that it is critical to understand the delicate stage that students are operating and which can easily culminate to loss of identity.

Therefore, the programs should incorporate identification of several alternatives in a hierarchical order that provide them with all the much needed assistance and therefore reduce chances of suffering from these disorders. Of particular importance in these groups is the role of extended problem solving skills like consultations and building viable relationship with teachers, local administration, and the counselors.

Identify interventions and strategies, and perhaps, approaches that were new to you that you have stored in your –professional tool chest– for possible use in the future.

In the due course of the study, I have indeed gathered a lot in terms knowledge acquisition. It is imperative to note that students often face several challenges due to numerous forms of disabilities. Notably, some of the common challenges include speech disorder, deafness, hearing loss, visual impairment and language disorders (Marilyn, 2011). In addition, there are students who have severe physical and health disabilities while others undergo other forms of multiple challenges.

Moreover, it is essential to note that there are other categories of students who are known to be gifted and talented and this call for special attention in order to help them cope with the learning environment (Marilyn, 2011). It is definite that there are interventions, approaches and strategies that can be employed in order to help all categories of learners cope with disabilities in classroom. It is against this backdrop that the following part of the paper intends to identify approaches, strategies and intervention measures that I acquired in my tool chest for use both currently and in future.

It is certain that students with speech and language disorders manifest their disabilities at an early age. Therefore, there are numerous interventions that can be used in order to help them overcome challenges related to speech and language disorders. In my professional experience, I acknowledge the fact that training programs play a crucial role to improve speech and language use in a student.

Therefore, professionals ought to refer learners with disabilities to a speech therapist especially when the levels of disabilities are acute (Marilyn, 2011). However, for those whose cases are not very complex, they can be trained both in classroom and at home by parents or guardians on how to develop proper speech and language use. Notably, students with language and speech disorder face hardships in numerous aspects. Therefore, there is need to employ direct interventions, approaches and strategies in order to address specific impairments in the most effective manner (Marilyn, 2011).

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In line with this, students with autism spectrum disorders require one to employ behavioral and educational approaches in order to help them cope with impending challenges (Marilyn, 2011). One of the possible challenges that teachers face while coping with such disabilities is the heterogeneous nature of the affected learners. In this case, they require different quality and quantity of behavior and educational support (Marilyn, 2011). Therefore, it is essential to consider placement of a continuum whereby both general and specialized instructions will be administered in a learning environment to ensure that such students cope with normal classroom situations (Marilyn, 2011). Another intervention strategy may entail modifying the learning environment to suit the needs of all learners.

That notwithstanding, is imperative to point out that a professional should apply profound intervention strategies to cope with learners who have hearing disorders in classroom. Hearing impairment may be partial or total in nature (Marilyn, 2011). This kind of impairment inhibits communication and various aspects of development among students. For instance, a student cannot acquire education or interact with other learners effectively.

Once a professional diagnose the type and level of impairment in a student, it is advisable to use collective approaches in addressing the disability. This involves the use of symbols, facial expression, movement and gestures in administering instructions in classroom (Marilyn, 2011). Students can be provided with assistive devices such as telephone, doorbells, graphic displays and visual materials. Students who are partially deaf should be positioned in the front seats in a classroom to ensure that their hearing patterns are not disrupted.

On the other hand, it is apparent that visual impairments differ in degrees whereby there are students who are totally blind, short sighted, color blind and those with tunnel vision (Marilyn, 2011). Therefore, a professional should diagnose the level of visual impairment in a student in order to employ appropriate strategies. Notably, a particular impairment determines the visual needs to be provided in learning any environment.

For instance, students who are totally blind should be provided with talking computers, Braille and white sticks in order to cope effectively in a learning environment (Marilyn, 2011). Moreover, shortsighted or partially impaired students should be provided with reading glasses. In line with this, those who are color blind need environmental modification whereby a teacher should alter visual features to ensure that they are visible. Learners with tunnel vision should be positioned in front seats and the teacher should ensure that they are able to coordinate well with the podium.

Besides, there are interventions, approaches and strategies that can be applied for students with physical and general health disabilities. Notably, some of the cases related to health and physical disabilities need specialized care. In this case, it is important for a professional to use alternative care approaches (Marilyn, 2011). This implies that some of the challenges posed by these disabilities cannot be solved through talk therapy or even psychotherapy. Therefore, students need to be given medication and other alternative care which is non-traditional (Marilyn, 2011).

In addition, it is essential to note that students with acute and multiple disabilities exhibit numerous range of behavioral patterns. Therefore, intervention measures to be employed greatly depend on the type of disability diagnosed in a learner. In this case, multiple approaches should be employed in order to address each case individually (Marilyn, 2011). For instance, a student may be deaf and dumb at the same time while others might have autistic disorder and also physically disabled.

Basically, there are also interventions that can be made for students who are gifted and talented. It is apparent that these students above their chronological age and thus, they need to be provided with high quality instructions that match with their needs (Marilyn, 2011). Professionals should provide special attention to such students by ensuring that they are given assignments that match with their ability. At times, they should be given challenging tasks so that adequate time is provided to attend to the average learners.

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Estell, D. B., Farmer, T. W., Irvin, M. J., Crowther, A., Akos, P., & Boudah, D. J. (2009). Students with exceptionalities and the peer group context of bullying and victimization in late elementary school. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 18(2), 136-150.

Marilyn, F. (2011). Special education: contemporary perspectives for school professionals. Boston: Allyn & Bacon, Inc.

McIntyre, L. (2007). From chaos to control: Understanding and responding to the behaviors of students with exceptionalities. Canadian Journal of Education, 30(1), 387-390.

Rock, M. L. (2008). Introduction to the special issue: Improving outcomes for students with exceptionalities in the general curriculum. Preventing School Failure, 52(2), 3-4.

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