All too often, students with disabilities are labeled and categorized as students who are incapable of completing similar tasks as “regular” students.
The fact is all students have needs that require special attention. Students with physical and mental disabilities are only recently receiving accommodations that are leveling the playing field with regular-ed. students.
Legislation, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, have called for modifications in the process of how students with disabilities are educated.
These acts call for students to be educated in their least restrictive environment . This simply means that students with disabilities should have the opportunity to be educated with non-disabled peers, to the greatest extent possible.
Placing students in the least restrictive environment is part of the inclusion process, the means by which disabled students are included in all aspects of the education process granted to non-disabled students.
Students that can not be educated in a regular-ed. classroom receive their lessons in a self-contained classroom . These students usually exhibit severe & profound disabilities, Autism, and mild/moderately intellectual disabilities.
Self-contained classrooms have several accommodations including a full-service kitchen & bathroom, additional staff support, changing stations, and at times, a computer for each student in the class. Self-contained classrooms have all the necessities needed to assist students with challenging disabilities.
Students in a self-contained classroom also have all of the technological resources needed to meet the different competency levels listed on their IEPs.
Students with Autism are provided with auditory assistive equipment, headphones, and personal dry erase boards to perform educational tasks. These students require additional staff support because acute attention must be paid to stimuli in the environment that could agitate the child.
Students of this nature will benefit from any computer program that includes call and response activities. Educational toys (i.e. talking maps) that respond to prompts made by the student are also beneficial. In addition, physical shapes & numbers, counting blocks, and reinforcers aid in their educational process.
Students with severe & profound disabilities require more personal maintenance than anything else. The technology available to these students are motorized wheelchairs, lifts, televisions, and auditory toys.