If a society is supportive of diversity….
than the beliefs should also be supportive and resources should be available for incorporating those with disabilities into society (e.g., The civil rights movement of the 1960s). In this case, the impact of those with disabilities on those without disabilities would be seen as positive.However, if a society is not supportive of diversity- but seeks uniformity-, than the beliefs should beliefs and resources should be directed to disenfranchising or eliminating those with disabilities from society (e.g., the Eugenics movement). In this case, the impact of those with disabilities on those without disabilities would be seen as negative.
In like manner, the same logic can be applied to a community, school system, or even family. In the case of a family.
A healthy family would likely take a positive stance; whereas a sick family is likely to take a negative stance.
Disabilities are either
Congenital or Acquired
In the genes. Inherited from parents: who may or not express the condition.
Gene mutations being Teratogenic
Prenatal toxicity-accidental e.g., living near a waste dump; or through drug use, e.g. crack baby) or chromosomal disorder. Note: These can all be prevented.
The biological model states
Disabilities(physical, behavioral, emotional, cognitive) are due to one’s genes, brain structure, and chemistry.
Neurons are
Brain Cells
Arms that take in information
Arms that send information out
When you learn new information neurons
connect / wire together
Brain neurons let you
acquire, retain, process, and express information
Most people do these things the same way because their brain’s neurons are arranged and work in a similar manner. But when a brain had neurons that are not arranged or working like “normal” (slower, faster, missing, extra) then
that person will have differences in how they acquire, retain, process, and express information along with their ability to control their movements, impulses, and emotions.
Neurotransmission, what do they use
How neurons talk with each other. They never touch, but they use neurotransmitters (communication chemicals).
Differences in neurotransmitters
When the brain has differences in it’s neurotransmitters (too much, not enough) then a person may experience differences in how they acquire, retain, process, and express information along with their ability to control movements, impulses, and emotions.
The brain’s ability to grow new neurons, allow unused neurons to die (pruning) and change how it uses existing parts of the brain to do related tasks (recruitment).
Plasticity is high
When children are first born and decays as the person ages.
Early intervention takes advantage of a young child’s high plasticity. If a learning problem can be caught early,
the brain can be trained to function in a manner that greatly diminishes or eliminates the problem.
The brain obtains information through the 5 senses (sight, hearing, feel, smell, taste). The brain gathers information about the outside world (what is that over there?) and about the body (where is my left foot? Let your body tell you).
Perception depends on one’s
attention, memory, and processing
Retention is
A record of past perceptions (real or imagined). Two types of memory are episodic and semantic.
Episodic memory
A record of your life experiences
Semantic memory
A record of abstract intellectual knowledge: (e.g., What is the 3rd day of the week?)
Normal brains are fairly good at each type of memory, but lean towards
episodic memory
Short term memory
When the brain holds a few items for a short time
Long term memory
Memories that are never forgotten, unless damage is done to the brain
Working memory
When a person must hold information in their mind, information used to reach a goal, as they work on the goal. (Jim is doing a worksheet. Starts to look up an answer to a question, but then forgets the question while looking it up.
The brain making connections between sets of information and predictions about what should happen next.
Concrete processing
The brain gathers information directly through the senses.
Abstract processing
The brain gathers information through its own thoughts. (what will happen if you place an egg in your hand and squeeze it?)
When a student is having a problem learning something, it may be that the teacher is having the student use abstract processing and may find greater success by having the student use concrete processing.
Processing speed
How much time it takes a person to make connections and draw conclusions. Some disabilities cause slower processing.
Gestalt processing
The brain’s ability to see the whole picture.
The brain focuses in like a funnel (seeing parts rather than the whole).
Expressin what is thought, felt, known, or desired.
A disability can limit one’s ability to express information in certain ways. A person with a learning disability may find it difficult to write their thoughts but find it easy to say what they mean.
Some communication handicaps are removed by students communicating through
Body language, pictures, computers that talk for them, and some simply need more time to gather their thoughts to say what they need to say.
Prevention and Early Intervention
Prevention =
Prevention = Measures designed to ensure a disability never occurs
Most disabilities can be prevented from occurring
Congenital = Eugenics movement, genetic counseling…prenatal care
Acquired = safety program, immunizations, early nutrition, poverty support.
Early intervention =
Measures taken to arrest, reduce, or eliminate a disability once the likelihood of a disability is detected, or a disability is discovered. (early nutrition programs; applied behavioral analysis programs ABA: Reading Remediation Programs.)
Issues with Early Intervention
Part 1
1. Some people are for eliminating disabilities arguing it will advance the human race, others argue this would not advance the human race (many of our top scientists were and are disabled, Aspergers syndrome is associated with science and perceptual disabilities with the arts; a high proportion or business CEO’s and founders have a learning disability).
Issues with Early Intervention
Part 2
Early intervention is more effective, in terms of impact and cost, than late intervention for normalizing those with disabilities, however a “let’s wait and see” attitude is prevalent and the opportunity to make high impact changes is lost as plasticity degrades with age.
Scientifically validated instruction
Refers to teaching methods that have been proven as effective for learning through research studies. According to Idea and NCLB all teachers are to utilize scientifically validated instruction in their classrooms. When scientifically validated instruction is not used by professionals, the professional has placed the student/client at a disadvantage and at risk for failure.
Issues with Scientifically validated instructions
1. Law demands their use, but legal neglect is often tolerated.
2. Some professionals state they lack appropriate training in scientifically validated methods.
A quick and simple instrument that determines if a person is likely not to have a disability.
These are used in identification (does the child have a disability) and placement (what services and in what amount does the child need to reach academic and functional goals).
Issue with Screening and assessments
1. The student may not receive multiple assessments or are assessed in the correct area.
2. Assessment are sometimes administered by unqualified individuals.
3.Results not always considered by the IEP team as to how they are to be interpreted; they just go with the numbers: there is no global consideration.
4. Assessments are sometimes biased (Causing false results due to cultural, and or language differences, or complications caused by the disability, Student with dyslexia have problems with written test.)
RTI Response to Intervention
Typically a three tier model in which scientifically validated instruction is paired with progress monitoring. Tier 1 reg ed. classroom (80% respond). Tier 2 Supplemental, small group instruction (75% respond). Tier 3 Non responders receive intensive / individualized services
RTI issues
1. RTI was never validated as an assessment before it was used as on (it was originally a teaching method).
2. If scientifically validated teaching methods were actually being used in the classrooms, tier one would take place in every regular education classroom, but in many schools students are “placed” into a special tier 1 classroom setting.
3. Schools misuse RTI (keep students locked in the process as a way to avoid providing SPED services)
Parents often do not know they can request an assessment for SPED to be performed even though their child is in the RTI process.
Executive Response

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