Please note! This essay has been submitted by a student.
While schools today are doing what they can to provide help for students with mental and physical disabilities, are they doing enough to make a difference for the child’s education? With a mental disability, being in a foreign environment can be tough, let alone in an environment that the child can’t succeed in. While inclusive education can be helpful for a child with mental disabilities, they also should be as least restrictive to the child as possible. While there are many areas we could look at with helping a child, we’ll focus on reading.
Starting in a preschool setting, it is easy to identify when children have a learning disability. A study was done on four female students with down syndrome. These students had only mental impairments and no physical. These students, about three years old, were put through a series of therapies to enhance their mental development. “Many studies have been conducted that have proven the positive effects of early intervention on infants that are either labeled as mentally handicapped or at risk of becoming handicapped” (Soto, Maria T.) Since the students didn’t make much of an advancement in development, a different approach was made.
Children are growing up with technology all around them. By implementing computers into the children’s classroom, the learning environment became more diverse in ways that a handicapped child could learn about the world around them along with preparing them for everyday life tasks that would be set in front of them. Along with being self-paced, computers allowed individualization and feedback immediately for the children. Not only do computers help the children, but they help teachers with being able to help other children along with disabled children.
Middle school is a more fast-paced learning environment. We look at a new study with children in grades 6-8 in their own self-contained classrooms. Although nowadays it is more common to see inclusive learning, the students did make advancements in their reading fluency. The participants were pulled aside to a room where there were no distractions present and were included in a literary intervention program which prepared them to return to regular classes by furthering their reading skills from the level they were at before. (Strong Hilsmier, Amanda)
Finally, through a randomized trial with high school students with disabilities. These students went through two year interventions starting at 9th grade. Students in this group were assigned one of the three treatments that were available to them. Children who went along with the reading treatments showed gains in their reading fluency. The results from this experiment show that when students are given help, they can make sufficient gains in their reading fluency and development.