Summer 2009 Retreat

Summer 2009 Retreat

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Research Solutions Journal - Natalie Johnson

I decided to research the issue of education for disabled students because of my interview for the Social Change Account, as well as some previous experiences. I have tutored a very young child who was diagnosed with ADD, and right now I’m currently tutoring two high school students who have ADD as well. It is challenging to work with these students and accommodate their needs and keep them focused, especially since we only have one short hour per week together. I strive to help them as much as possible each week, and I am constantly wondering what more I can do in order to be the most help to them that I can be. Another thing that sparked my interest in this topic is the interview that I conducted with my high school French teacher for the Social Change Account. She told me that at our school, the disabled kids are called “resource children” and go to “resource classes” for English and Math. For the rest of their classes, they are integrated into mainstream classrooms with the rest of the kids at the school. She said that this is starting to cause some problems, both with teachers and students. Teachers become aggravated because they have to slow down their lesson plans to accommodate the needs of these kids, and children in their classes also become frustrated because they wonder why they have to be bored in class going over the same things repeatedly for these few disabled kids in the class. I think that it is an extremely important issue that needs to be recognized and vastly improved in our school system nationwide.

Upon starting to research this topic, the first thing that I typed into Google was “special education teaching solutions.” Something that I came across that I wasn’t really expecting was a company called “Simple Solutions.” They sell software programs supposedly designed to be able to accommodate students at all levels of learning with their “universal design strategy.” Basically, it “supplements the curriculum by providing daily distributed practice.” They claim that if teachers use this product in their classrooms with special education students, these students will be better prepared to understand the general curriculum and keep up in the classroom with other students because of the practice they get from this program. I didn’t quite understand the specifics of this product, and chose to move on to different research because this was not what I was looking for. I wanted actual teaching methods, not a product that you can buy. Especially after having read the “Heart to Heart” segment, this website seemed like an easy way out for special education teachers that may not even work that well.

I then came across the "National Center for Special Education Research (NCSER)", which was established in 2004 with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). I was glad to see that there is research being devoted to this issue: “Since 2006, the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) has funded more than 150 research grants through the National Center for Special Education Research.” The site listed several research initiatives that are currently being done and have already been done, and though I wasn’t able to really obtain as much information on the results of these initiatives as I would have liked, I was pleased with the array of different things going on in this area of education. With these grants and this research happening, I believe that one day children with disabilities will truly be able to get the education that they deserve.


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