Intellectual Disabilitiesin the Classroom<br />1<br />2<br />3<br />4<br />5<br />6<br />7<br />8<br />9<br />A Model for Inclusion:<br />Matthew Cameron<br />Michael Strachan<br />
Definition<br /><ul><li>The official definition of Intellectual Disability is a constantly evolving process.
Even into this decade, the condition was classified as ‘Mental Retardation’.
Typically, the condition has been characterized based on two dimensions:</li></ul>(1.) Limited intellectual Ability (IQ scores of 70 and below)<br />(2.) Difficulty Coping with the Social Demands of their environment<br /><ul><li>Almost all previously adopted definitions focused in some way on the deficiencies of the atypical individual.
Various forms of this mode of identification focused on questions such as:</li></ul>How disabled is a person relative to other disabled individuals ?<br />(this was then subdivided into four categories of ‘retardation’: mild, moderate, severe and profound)<br />How do these individuals fit into society, or what is their maximum output capacity?<br />(from this, individuals were deemed to be either educable, or trainable mentally retarded)<br />How can we categorize individuals based on their IQ scores?<br />(mild = 50/55 – 70, moderate = 35/40 – 50/55, severe = 20/25 – 35/40, profound = below 20)<br />
Definition<br />Over the last decade, the philosophy behind classifying this condition has evolved from a problem, and deficiency –centered approach, to an environment, and support-centered approach. We now look at the needs of the afflicted individual, and ask the question:<br />What level of support is required for this individual?<br />From this, four tiers of evaluation have been established:<br />(1.) Intermittent: Supports are used only when required, often for special circumstances (ie. Finding jobs, helping with medical issues, etc…)<br />(2.) Limited: Consistent supports are required; necessary mainly for transitions <br />(ie. Leaving school, establishing living conditions, arranging travel, etc…)<br />(3.) Extensive: Daily supports are required, and support is usually life-long<br />(ie. Educational assistants in the classroom, case workers beyond school)<br />(4.) Pervasive: Constant, high-intensity support required<br />(ie. Requires assistance with even the most basic adaptive functions)<br />
Etiology and Association<br /><ul><li> Down syndrome
Responses</li></ul>Community Involvement<br />These students will have to be active community members, and as such, they require experience in inclusive environments, and should be included in all activities as often as possible.<br />
Teaching Strategies<br /><ul><li>Determine the strengths of the students, and teach to those strengths. With intellectual disabilities students usually benefit from visual, tactile, and kinesthetic instruction
No one strategy is perfect; you must constantly try new things for each individual in order to find success.</li></ul>Act.1<br />
Circle of Friends<br />“Circle of friends is an approach to enhancing the inclusion, in a mainstream setting, of any young person (known as ‘the focus child’), who is experiencing difficulties in school because of a disability, personal crisis or because of their challenging behaviour towards others. <br />The ‘circle of friends’ approach works by mobilising the young person’s peers to provide support and engage in problem solving with the person in difficulty. ‘Circle of friends’ is not the same as ‘circle time’ but many of the skills and techniques used by teachers in ‘circle time’ can be used to support the ‘circle of friends’ process.” <br />--Inclusive Solutions<br />Act.2<br />
Considerations for Inclusion<br />When practicing the inclusion of intellectually disabled students, it is important for teachers to identify their own inherent, and underlying biases, or prejudices that might effect the quality of support he or she may provide. Some behaviours can be quite harmful in the inclusion process, ye t they are acted upon unconsciously . Awareness is really your only defence against these sorts of damaging behaviours. Remember, communication is largely non-verbal . <br />Specifically, you’ll want to avoid the following:<br /><ul><li>Offering limited new learning opportunities
Asking lower-level cognitive questions or not presenting enough challenges</li></li></ul><li>Classroom Adaptations<br />Adapting your classroom practices for those who are Intellectually Disabled typically involves a change in either (a) Instructional Delivery Methods, or (b) Response Modes <br />(ie. Testing adaptations – extended time, word banks, etc…).<br />That said, teachers need to have a functional focus within the curriculum in order to enhance learning for adult outcomes. Such adaptations should:<br /><ul><li>Ensure attention to relevant task demands
Teach ways to learn content, while working through content itself
Focus on meaningful content (relative to the student)
Provide training that crosses multiple contexts
Offer opportunities for active involvement in the learning process</li></ul>Strategy Training:<br />Learning problems experienced by low-achieving students are due more to a lack of knowledge regarding the process involved in independent learning than to any underlying deficits. Use self-evaluation to improve the cognitive process.<br />
Assistive Technology<br />Assistive technology must be used in a way that enhances the four stages of learning: the acquisitions of new skills; the development of fluency and proficiency; the maintenance of skills over time; and the generalization to new situations. With the help of assistive technology students will:<br /><ul><li> Have greater control over their own lives
Participate in and contribute more fully to activities in their home, school, and work environments, and their communities.
Interact to a greater extent with typical achieving individuals
Otherwise benefit form opportunities that are taken for granted by individuals who do not have exceptionalities. </li></li></ul><li>References<br />Textbook:<br />Teaching Students with Special Needs in Inclusive Settings<br />Tom E.C. Smith (Author), Edward A. Polloway (Author), James M. Patton (Author), Carol A. Dowdy (Author), Laureen J. McIntyre (Author), Garnett C. Francis (Author) <br />Case Studies:<br />The Exceptional Teachers Casebook <br />2nd Edition -2010<br />Cam Symons<br />Website:<br />Inclusive Solutions<br />http://www.inclusive-solutions.com/circlesoffriends.asp<br />
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