Special education refers to explicit instructions that are drawn to equip children who have any form of disability whereas their parents incur little or no charges. The children are instructed in schools, churches, hospitals, homes, and other special setups that are interested in children’s education (Wilmshurst & Brue, 2010).
Over the years, there have been revolutions towards the realization of the best education that the disabled children should receive. Furthermore, there have been arguments of when the children should be introduced to education and the institution that the children should be taken. Education stakeholders have moved a step by defining the disorders manifested by a child who qualifies as eligible to receive special education. There have been creations of the special schools that address the needs of the disabled children.
The department of education has given priority to the children with the special needs. This has been observed especially in the constant increase of professionals who have been employed by the state. Despite the challenges that have come with giving instructions to children with disability, professional working have been on the rise in the field giving a clear indication of how serious special education has been considered. Special education has reached a level that the government has to put much input in terms of funding and employment of professionals. Therefore, today’s special education has the disabled children’s needs at heart.
Special Education Contributions
Special education has many contributions ranging from the past to the present. Taking keen interest on achievements attributed to special education in the past; the list seems to be endless. These include the contribution of special education towards understanding the curriculum, the schooling of the children, and the values of education. In this respect, special education has enlightened the public on what education for children with special needs entails.
Parents have preferred the highly disciplined and performing schools; hence, the genesis of market choice. The schools attaining quality grades are more preferred than those that did not perform well. The result of this was competition between schools leading to quality education to the children. In the past, special education is appreciable for raising the values of learning. With the government’s interest in improving the education sector, special education played a key role in ensuring that the students obtain qualified instructions (Corbett & Norwich, 1998).
Furthermore, various laws were enacted to streamline the education sector which was aimed at addressing the needs of disabled children. Priorities were set and directed towards the improvement of the curriculum. The harmonization of the curriculum was a great achievement in ensuring that the children obtain a standardized system of education. The benefit was not only to children with special needs, but also the strong and healthy children.
Special education also relieved the burden of handling all students as if they were all fit for teaching in the field. The introduction of special education enhanced the work of teachers through creation of unique instructions aimed at addressing the needs of children with special needs who were neglected initially. The professional teachers of special education have lessened the burdens felt by other teachers who were not qualified to handle the disabled children.
Parents have also benefited from the introduction of special education through reduction of the social stigma and the cost of handling the children with disabilities. This has been realized mainly by taking the children to special schools where they are taught physical education among other benefits. The job market has also been enhanced where teachers of special education have been employed to assist children with special problems. People with special needs who have attained the age of majority have been absorbed in various fields.
Experience of Special Education
Special education has received much applause in schools today. The creation of special schools has addressed the specific needs of students with special needs. This has necessitated the employment of trained professionals to assist those children. Children with special needs have gotten their place in society through special education. This has resulted from the education they are subjected to and their acceptance by the non-disabled students in both private and public schools. Teachers have also experienced the benefits of special education in their respective schools. Mr. Joseph, the special education leader, confirmed that special education has brought real change in the education sector.
He continued to appraise the benefits that children have received from the system put in place by the special education program. He also pointed out the motivation he gets while working in the field. This confirms how special education has been welcomed by education stakeholders and the society at large. Research has also indicated that children with disabilities perform better when they learn with the non-disabled students in the same school (Wilmshurst & Brue, 2010). This has boosted the standards of special education in public schools. These experiences of special education in schools have been evident in many schools.
In special education, there are very important concepts to be considered. These concepts include moving forward through categorization and inclusion. According to Ainscow, Booth, and Dyson (2004), inclusion theory entails all the involving concepts that try to take care of problems that may be felt in the participation and the process of learning among students.
The development of an inclusive education idea is of high significance in the student’s development. In special education, this concept that does not necessarily mean acquisition of new technologies should be adopted to ensure that all students are involved in the development of the education system. Inclusion concept should be embraced by all teachers in the field as well as education stakeholders by all children equal treatment. Inclusion concept ensures that children with special needs learn in standard classrooms together with the non-disabled students. This allows the students to build on their interpersonal relationships.
Inclusion concept also enables special need students to learn more when they are allowed to mingle with other students. Another importance of inclusion involves the right of children to be educated inclusively and the desire of children to be taught together with other learners. Therefore, the inclusion concept is a very important thought towards the development of special education today and in the future.
Despite these merits attributed to the inclusion, The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is opposed to the inclusion concept. IDEA prescribes that it is unfair to group all students in a standard classroom. Therefore, the law postulates that the extent to which inclusion should be considered should be dependent on the students needs. Professional teachers should consider the best approach to ensure all children get equal education irrespective of their condition and the schools they attend.
The second concept in special education is moving forward. This is aimed at making the parents and the disabled children understand their roles in enhancing special education. The urge to continue or rather move forward with their education is a motivating factor in children’s educational development. Teachers, parents, and children should focus on this idea for the success of special education.
Lastly, categorization has been evident in the special education systems. This involves classifying children’s problems and academics into certain levels. This concept enables teachers to specialize in their respective areas of interest (Kirk, 2009). Despite this benefit, there are several demerits of categorization. These include; lowered teachers’ expectations, long-lasting effects using the specific categories’ name, and the negative impact it causes to the children. Among regular education teachers, they feel challenged when they handle children subjected into different categories based on the level of disabilities (Wilmshurst & Brue, 2010). The lowering of teacher’s expectations may hurt the child’s side. When a child realizes a perception of the teacher’s ideas on him/her, the child may feel discouraged, demoralized or even demeaned.
Special education is far much better today than during the past. It has developed to incorporate better learning strategies facilitated by modern equipments and experienced educators. The advances have led to inclusive and exclusive teaching strategies that are based on creating the least restrictive environments for learners with disabilities. Furthermore, special education entails the rights to ensure children with disabilities receive education without demanding costs from the parents of the children. Therefore, today’s special education outlines what the disabled children should receive from their teachers. It also outlines the environment from which they should learn and the attention their teachers should give them.
Mr. Joseph was the respondent in the interview conducted concerning special education. He is a professional and practicing leader in the field of special education.
These are the questions asked:
- What is your take on the today’s special education?
- Can you relate the past, present and the future of special education?
- How is special education experienced in schools today?
- What are some of the contributions of special education in the past?
Ainscow, M., Booth, T., & Dyson, A. (2004). Understanding and developing inclusive practices in schools. Swindon: Economic and Social Research Council.
Corbett, J., & Norwich, B. (1998). The Contribution of Special Education to Our Understanding of Values, Schooling and the Curriculum. Pedagogy, Culture and Society, 6(1), 85-96.
Kirk, A. (2009). Education. New York: Ferguson.
Wilmshurst, L., & Brue, A. (2010). The Complete Guide to Special Education Expert Advice on Evaluations, IEPs, and Helping Kids Succeed. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons.