PSYC 3850 Chapter Notes - Chapter 12: The Dilemma, Rehabilitation Counseling, Institute For Operations Research And The Management Sciences

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PSYC 3850
Instructional Settings Matter
IDEA specifies that students with disabilities must have access to an array of
educational placements. This is to ensure that each student has the opportunity to
benefit from a quality education program. The requirement for these settings also
informs states and districts that they should make available more than a single
placement option for students. Local school districts must provide educational
alternatives for those with CIDs, ranging from the less severe to the most severe.
Although they have been left out of the educational mainstream, overtime they have
provided progressive inclusion.
The Vocabulary of Instructional Settings
Much of the confusion of instructional settings is due to the changes in vocabulary
along with trying to figure out what these students should learn. This change has
reflected a revolution in regards to expectations. Prior to the mid 70s’ decisions
about what students with CIDs should learn were bleak but easy. Between 1945 and
1975 there was a six fold increase in students receiving special education. By the
mid 60s’ a continuum or settings emerged, with a list of settings identified being less
segregated than the previous. There was also the passage of federal requirements
for special education. Although there were positive changes there was also criticism
to this continuum as some state the students will not learn the same skills as others
and result in limited opportunities. We need a continuum of supports more than one
placements if one is too see results.
The common vocabulary from the mid 70’s to 1990 included the word
mainstreaming – placing those with CIDs into general education classes. There are
three separate levels:
Physical Space: students with CIDs are at least physically present in typical schools
Social Interaction: there are regular and scheduled activities that include all
Instructional Mainstreaming: attending typical classes with specialized
instruction built into the classroom lesson.
During the 80’s many wanted schools to become more inclusive. Part of this shift
was an effort by professionals and advocates to give special education a more
meaningful role in school reforms. To many, it was simply a word that replaced
mainstreaming. Some focused on how inclusive the setting should be. Others saw it
is a setting to try and eliminate special education as a separate system from general
education. Thus Reynolds added a fourth level: mainstreaming of entire school
systems. They are different as they provide support for all students.
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Assumptions, policies and practices on pages 340 & 341
Students with CIDs were not part of a program limited only to those with the
mildest learning issues, those who went there and everyone in the school workers
and students believed that they “belonged” there regardless of the disability.
LRE assumptions and educational requirement settings on page 341.
Defining least restrictive was a challenge from the beginning and is still in
disagreement today. Often the assumption I made that an educational setting is least
restrictive, by definition is the general education environment. Some point out that
these classes can be harsh for students with disabilities in specific circumstances
Circumstances found on pages 341 & 342.
Others point out that students with CIDs should have access to a more functional
curriculum one not easily arranged in typical classes with a focus on the general
CCSS. The principle of “least restrictive” is still a debate today. The principle is a
concept borne of commerce and trade regulation not with education. The principle
is: governments restrict business practices but when they do, they must occur in a
way that minimizes intrusion on personal liberty. To those with CIDs this means
that educational programs would be acceptable if they place minimal restrictions on
persons for whom they are designed. Thus, it became clear that the LRE has little to
do with promoting its best practices but is able to set the guidelines when it comes
to delivering the program.
Do Instructional Settings Affect Instruction?
Settings influence the attitudes and behaviors of students, teachers and the society
at large. In institutional settings, little attention was paid to the quality of the
residents lives and staff often limited themselves from helping. This also occurred in
smaller community residences. Some stated that the care provided by the staff
actually hindered the persons abilities to perform the skills they were learning. Staff
ignored the ability of the young ones with severe disabilities if they perceived that
their skills interfered with the staff members routines. Many students with CIDs
regardless of the degree of the disability need direct and powerful instruction to
learn the skills needed to develop and maintain their important life skills.
Placement has a major impact on the opportunities available to learn and develop.
The dilemma of teaching social interactions, communications and self-control skills
in developmentally segregated environments was described by Fox. Ultimately a
skill needs to have a practical value for students to use them in their daily lives.
Others demonstrated that developmentally intergraded settings enhance their
social skills and relationships. General education students typically hold the same
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