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Chapter One. Special Education in Context: People, Concepts, and Perspectives. Key Ideas. Classrooms are made up of diverse learners Person first language is essential Attitudes are powerful Exceptionality is always relative to the social or cultural context in which it occurs

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chapter one

Chapter One

Special Education in Context:

People, Concepts, and Perspectives

key ideas
Key Ideas
  • Classrooms are made up of diverse learners
  • Person first language is essential
  • Attitudes are powerful
  • Exceptionality is always relative to the social or cultural context in which it occurs
  • Exceptionality is determined when compared against a set of norms
definitions and terminology
Definitions and Terminology
  • Disability
    • Limitations imposed on an individual (physical, cognitive, sensory, emotional, learning difficulties, etc.)
  • Handicap
    • Impact of the disability (social marginalization, discrimination due to perceptions, etc.)
classroom suggestions
Classroom Suggestions
  • Focus on the person rather than the disability
  • Avoid “super achiever” and other stereotypes
  • Avoid terms of pity such as “afflicted with” or “suffers from” and generic labels like “the retarded”
  • Use people first language such as “boy with mental retardation”
more classroom suggestions
More Classroom Suggestions
  • Use language that affirms ability such as “uses a wheelchair” rather than “wheelchair bound”
  • Use correct terminology rather than euphemisms
  • Don’t confuse disease with disability
  • Portray people with disabilities as active participants in life and in society
important terms
Important Terms
  • Developmental Delay
  • At-Risk
  • Special Education
  • Related Services
thirteen categories of disability


Developmental delay

Emotional disturbance

Hearing impairments

Mental retardation

Multiple disabilities

Orthopedic impairments

Other health impairments

Specific learning disabilities

Speech or language impairments

Traumatic brain injury

Visual impairments including blindness

Thirteen Categories of Disability
pioneering contributors to the development of special education
Pioneering Contributors to the Development of Special Education

Jacob Rodrigues Pereine (1715-1780)

Phillippe Pinel (1745-1826)

Jean Marc-Gaspard (1775-1838)

Thomas Gallaudet (1787-1851)

Dorothea Lynde Dix (1802-1887)

Louis Braille (1809-1852)

Alexander Graham Bell (1847-1992)

Alfred Binet (1857-1911)

Maria Montessori (1870-1952)

examples of related services
Physical therapy



Speech and language


Recreational therapy

Orientation and mobility

Interpreting services

Occupational therapy



Social work

Vocational education

Rehabilitation counseling

Parent counseling

School nurse services

Examples of Related Services
american history
American History
  • Institutions and Asylums
    • Social perceptions and beliefs of the time period
  • Special Education Classes in Public Schools
    • Began to develop in 1860s
    • Began as separate facilities then

self-contained classrooms

    • Legislation and litigation
    • Inclusion
successful partnerships
Successful Partnerships
  • Family participation
  • Collaboration and Consultation
  • Service delivery teams:
    • Multidisciplinary teams
    • Interdisciplinary teams
    • Transdisciplinary teams
  • Cooperative teaching
universal design for learning
Universal Design for Learning
  • Universal Design for Learning can be simply stated as “the design of instructional materials and activities that allows the learning goals to be achievable by individuals with wide differences in their ability to see, hear, speak, move, read, write, understand English, attend, organize, and remember” (Orkwis & McLane, 1998, p. 9).
exceptionality across the life span
Exceptionality Across the Life Span
  • Infants, Toddlers, and Preschoolers with Special Needs
    • Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP)
    • Early Intervention (EI) (birth to age 2)
    • Early childhood special education (age 3-5)
  • Adolescents and Young Adults with Disabilities
    • Transition
    • Transition Services
    • Individualized Transition Plan (ITP)
    • Transition challenges and concerns