Behaviors and Relationships of Disabled Children in Schools The purposes of modern school environments include providing education for youth and teenagers, creating character building, and hosting social interactions between students and their handicapped classmates. The interactions between children with disabilities-such as autism, Asperger’s syndrome, speaking disabilities, and physical disabilities-and children without disabilities can impact the lives and attitudes of average children regularly involved with their handicapped peers.
The behaviors and relationships of students with disabilities depend on the classroom nvironment and their interactions with other classmates, the severity of their disabilities, and their diagnosis’ coping techniques. Out of all children attending school in the United States under the age of 18, 17 percent are diagnosed with a disability that affects them in the classroom environment (Drake, et al. 215). Statistics, such as this, show that finding disabled students enrolled in schools with other typically developing peers is not uncommon in the U. S.
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For children to be classified as disabled, they must be incapable to perform at least three of the following: take care of his or her self, speak to and nderstand others clearly, learn within a classroom environment, walk or move around, make decisions and live independently, and earn and manage an income (Shannon and Tappan 297). Most children are many behaviors of their peers with disabilities at early ages. The introduction of disabilities to young children creates positive attitudes and clearer understandings towards their disabled classmates and peers.
The contact between developing students and students with disabilities has demonstrated a difference of attitudes and acceptance between children who are around the behaviors of the disabled and those who have little-to-no interactions ith them altogether (Diamond 106). The acts of involvement between students have long-terms effects as the children grow older and mature throughout their schooling years. Through school, teenagers and children who participated in programs with handicapped peers often became more positive and accepting of others with disabilities (Diamond 104).
Allowing children to become socially involved with their handicapped peers can cause them to gain beneficial behaviors that make a difference in their adult lives. Children involved in programs with other handicapped students develop different motions and behaviors towards their peers. They notice the differences and oddities that distinguish themselves from children with disabilities. When scientists were conducting research within a school, children in a preschool classroom were asked, “Tell me everything you know about a person with disabilities. Most of the students made references towards physical observations and the need of assistance. Detailed responses consisted of “[People] who sometimes get really sick, people who can only play with one arm, [people who are] too sick to play,” or “Girl in class, hard for her to talk to us” (Dyson 99). They also used examples of children associate within Stevie needs help writing; teacher tapes his paper down so he can write on it” (Dyson 99). Scientists concluded from the responses that children are aware of the different behaviors and situations that their handicapped peers exhibit.
Although they see the differences, most young children do not fully understand why a student would act or behave in such manners. Children not only develop senses of understanding toward disabilities, but few also acquire negative feelings of fear or Jealousy due to the lack of knowledge as to hy certain children act in a specific manner or receive more attention. In an experiment, students were asked about their feelings towards the targeted students.
Out of the 77 children involved in the research, seven of them replied that they were afraid of their disabled peers, mostly due to their harmful natures (Dyson 101). Some children may also feel envious of their disabled peers because of the amount of attention they receive from teachers and adults. Any negative feelings a child may develop towards a classmate will harm the peaceful environment which the school as to offer. Scientists also conducted a study on the friendships and connections developing students make with their handicapped peers.
Although many children seem to demonstrate acts of acceptance towards other children with disabilities, only a small number of students claim them as true friends. Examples of friendly activities occurring in the classroom consist of children helping others with mobility issues, providing assistance in emergencies, and cleaning the classroom after play times. Some children said they also invited their disabled peers to become involved n activities outside of the classroom environment. One child reported that he or she visited a disabled friend who was sick in the hospital (Dyson 101).
Encouraging children to become socially involved with their disabled classmates would be beneficial towards both developing and handicapped students. Social inclusion in schools has been a growing challenge for children because existing negative attitudes and stereotypes tend to decrease the possibility of social acceptances (Nowicki and Brown). Scientists conducted a research on an average child’s ideas on how to involve their handicapped peers. Asking a classroom of 36 boys and girls, they gathered responses that many adults might find to be surprising.
The responses were grouped into different categories and introduced to the teacher as suggestions for his or her classroom. The categories consisted of “Involve the teacher,” “Instructional strategies that can be used by children,” “Focusing on similarities, not differences,” “Modeling appropriate social behaviors and intervening in non-appropriate social behaviors,” “Structured social interactions that are inclusive,” and “Special programs and activities that are non-inclusive” (Nowicki and Brown).
In every category, the students gave various ideas to involve the disabled peers. By conducting this research, the scientists gained new views on how to encourage children and teachers to include disabled students in ways that are understandable to every person. When teachers applied the researched knowledge, they found that their classrooms were in a healthier, more social condition due to the inclusion of every student. Teachers and children in the classroom are not the only individuals capable of providing assistance and inclusion towards students with disabilities.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) of 1900, the Improvement Act of 2001 all place professionals, such as physical educators and school counselors, in positions to help foster the successful involvement of children with disabilities (Webb, et al. 124). The counselors and physical educators may encounter many problems associated with students who have disabilities. The roles of the school counselors have changed by the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) in order to address issues involving disabled students.
Responsibilities given to counselors include advocacy, developing transition plans and behavior odifications, counseling parents, making referrals to specialists, improving students with disabilities’ self-esteem, serving on their respective school’s multidisciplinary teams, teaching social skills to students with disabilities, and serving as consultants to parents and school staff (Webb, et al. 126). Physical educators, also known as P. E. teachers, a must cooperate alongside counselors for similar responsibilities.
Physical educators are responsible for safety towards students, executing appropriate activities, and making time for teaching proper information; they must also address ssues stated by laws. Matters included in the legislative mandates include providing supports for students with disabilities, working together with paraprofessionals, and serving on Individual Education Program (IEP) teams that require them to participate with other professionals, such as school counselors, within their place of employment (Webb, et al. 125).
Providing additional support from other teachers would produce a relaxed school environment for not only the teachers but for the students, as well. In schools, the percentage of students with disabilities needing to be supervised is rowing rapidly, mainly by an incredible amount of children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Compared to a 30 percent increase among all student disabilities at enrollment, the number of students diagnosed with ASD or Asperger’s syndrome has had a 1,700 percent increase over a ten year period (Davis 8).
Asperger’s is a high functioning form of ASD and is also found to be more common than ASD itself. Studies show that in every 10,000 individuals, 110 of them are found with ASD, but the number of children affected with Asperger’s is almost twice the number of classic autism’s (Dente and Coles 27). Being a more advanced and intelligent diagnosis, Asperger’s syndrome can occasionally be difficult to recognize in a person. In rare cases, children with Asperger’s can be diagnosed with the disability and also qualify for gifted programs for advanced students (Dente and Coles 30).
When scientists Claire Dente and Kallie Parkinson Coles describe students with Asperger’s syndrome, they state that they “experience difficulties in communication and social interaction… diffculties involve social impairment in conversational norms, (i. e. , one sided conversations), that inability to read social cues from others, lack of wareness of one’s impact on others, inappropriate intensity and timing in social interactions, and not knowing what to say or how to approach someone” (29). A child’s exhibited behaviors distinguish them from their classmates, making them seem unordinary and different.
A child’s failure to communicate properly with others could become problematic as the child matures and needs the social skills to excel in his or her life. Most of the traits associated with children who have any disability relate to social interactions and their behaviors towards others. External triggers are main causes of certain behaviors in adolescents. Examples of these triggers include have many friends, communicating if they have troubles hearing or have a selective mutism, or becoming interested in topics that do not consume their attention (Herbert and Weintraub 2).
Any triggers that set Offa student can result in abnormal actions and methods of coping that seem might seem strange to any peers who witness them. Many coping methods that often show signs of distress include spinning in cirlces, rocking back and forth, listening to music, chewing on something, rubbing a texturized object, and exercising (Herbert and Weintraub 3). A more eveloped and effective coping method called Social Stories”* is used more often throughout research processes. Social Stories”* are individualized short stories containing one or two sentences, illustrations, and easy-to-read vocabulary for young children.
Based on social situations that a student may have encountered in his or her life, the stories relate interactions by using appropriate approaches to problems. They are meant to teach and build social skills to increase appropriate interactions with other children by using real situations and explaining what to do and what is considered inappropriate (Scattone, et al. 14). By reading about scenarios, the children can associate real life situations with those situations that they have read about and make appropriate decisions based on the Social Stories’ examples.
Scientists have researched the effects of using Social Stories”* on young children with ASD and Asperger’s syndrome in school environments. By involving the teachers and parents of the child in the process, the child is supervised and helped as needed. The study was conducted on any changes the children displayed as results of using Social Storiesw. Key changes examined in the students were changes in attitudes nd behaviors (such as fear, aggression, and obsessions), differences in a child’s daily routines, and newly acquired knowledge towards academics and social behaviors. Scattone, et al. 211). Two of the researched targets were 8 year old boys diagnosed with a different form of autism. As explained in the research by Georgina Reynhout and Mark Carter, eight year old Adam had severe autism. He had communications problems and his speech was normally two- to three- words in a phrase. Adam was capable of following instructions, yet he often needed prompting to keep his attention on the performed task. Another trait that Adam displayed was the habitual tapping his hands on many surfaces, including his own body.
Although the teachers and children saw this action as annoying and disruptive, they noticed he “tapped” when he was happy or satisfied. Not wanting to upset Adam, the teachers decided to try using Social Stories”* to help him avoid tapping on objects and disrupting the class. After certain phases of the Social Stories process, Adam’s tapping gradually began to decrease in how often he did it and the severity of the noises. Although the tapping generally decreased, it increased on minor occasions where Adam felt more excited. The Social Stories method worked overall to teach Adam how to act during certain situations (174).
Through another process done by Reynhout and Carter, another eight year old child, Billy, was diagnosed with a low functioning form of Asperger’s syndrome. Although he was independent in a few areas, he contained multiple functioning difficulties, like holding a pencil or fastening buttons. Like Adam, he needed constant prompting to finish his work or project as he would wander off of the focused topics. Because he lacked social skills and awareness, Billy include him, Billy would either walk away from the group or not respond.
Occasionally, he would answer to others with inappropriate phrases, such as “Shut up” or “Go away. ” Billy had received different types of therapy to cope with his condition, yet none of the treatments held many effects on him. As a last resort, Billys teachers and parents prompted to test the Social Stories on him. The teacher would read a story to Billy once daily for 5 minutes since Billy was incapable of effective reading for himself. After many different processes of Social Stories, Billy eventually learned proper social skills, occasionally relapsing and using inappropriate terms and phrases towards others.
Social Stories”* helped Billy develop a sense of understanding with his classmates and increase the chances of forming steady friendships (215). Children with disabilities are not very different than children without disabilities. Every day, scientists and researchers are developing new ways to help handicapped children within the classroom environment. Growing numbers of diagnosed children enrolled into schools are causing issues not only seen by the teachers, but by the students as well. Most students try hard to involve their peers in activities, although some children find the presence of an “abnormal child” to be unnerving.
By introducing new ideas and activities to classrooms that contain a disabled child, students can understand the routines that others must go through, find ways to include or help a disabled classmate, and develop positive attitudes and behaviors towards individuals that they will keep for the rest of their lives. Teachers, administrators, and specially trained staff members are able offer students with disabilities a safe education that is equal to those of their peers. Keeping handicapped children in school environments can teach them life and social skills, help them develop routines, and produce positive attitudes.
Schools can also provide a safe environment for a child to test new coping methods and make changes to their lifestyle. Utilizing a resource such as Social Stories”* can help a student with disabilities gain the social skills and positive attitudes they will need in their future life. Providing education, character building, and a socially involved environment, schools are an important asset to the lives of children diagnosed with disabilities. Whether it is autism, Asperger’s syndrome, speaking disabilities, or physical disabilities, children of all kinds deserve to be treated the same as their eers.
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