Educating the Exceptional Learner


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Lesson plan

Unit 1: Targeted student

An exceptional learner is one with a unique level of functioning as a result of previous experience or capacity. This lesson plan targets students with mental retardation and cerebral palsy. He is aged 12 of age. His academic competence includes the ability to use the printer and computer in carrying out his tasks. The students prefer to learn through his own aid especially in doing assignments given to him. His aid is a social worker who accompanies him to all the lessons.

The aid has a special computer program to scan work sheet assignments which are then send to the computer where he can complete them. As a teacher I have to provide the students aid with the assignment early enough like during the morning hours for her to scan to the computer. The student is a fifth grader. The student is able to take part in physical education but only those which have been carefully chosen and have special equipments. Due to the student health condition he is unable to communicate well orally. He also suffers from movement in coordination.  He uses a wheel chair which means that the classroom should be spacious enough. This also affects his dressing and eating. His IQ level is high.

The objective will be to review the changing needs of the child as he proceeds to the upper class. The major objective are

  • To describe the developmental characteristics of the exceptional student and to identify the typical patterns of his development.
  • Describe the stage the student is by the use of Jean Pigeat theory of   cognitive development with application to the students instruction and learning.
  • To use Maslows Hierarchy of needs in relation to the student in learning and motivation.
  • Identify the specific need of student according to the stage level he is in as a result of students tasks and developmental stress.

Unit 2. Accommodation and assessment

As part of accommodating the student, there is needed to use technological innovations for helping the child with cerebral palsy in communication and speech, adapting classroom arranging and work sites especially for assignments. The student should frequently be given understanding love and care by the teacher and family members. The student should also have physical therapy, medical intervention, occupational therapy, and language and speech therapy.  He used also be given assistive technology like computer technology (Smith, Polloway, Patton, & Dowdy, 2001).  

The space in the classroom should also be enough for the student using wheel chair.  He should also be given a comfortable place to seat. Because the student suffers from communication problem, the student has to be provided with assistive technological equipment. Providing assignments scanned to the computer is a helpful strategy to the student because it eases writing activities. Demonstration of patience and emotional support towards the student with cerebral palsy is also very important for his learning and motivation to learn. The student needs encouragement and positive academic feedback. It is also important to help a CP in developing education peers and friendships. Frequent communication with the therapists and parents are ways which a students with CP will inspire students’ success and confidence.

Activities which can be assigned to the student are those within his capabilities.  Alternative assessment measures can be given to demonstrate the students knowledge on fractions in mathematics and computation. Because he may find it hard to write in pen and paper he can demonstrate fractions through cutting and apple into two halves.

Instead of also providing a student with a book to read, he can be given tape of the topic to listen. Reading can also be made possible when an assignment is scanned into the computer where the student is able to read the font depending on his suitable size.   Work, sheet enlargement is another alternative especially for drawing. The assignment given should not be in essay form but can be stated. The teacher also used non verbal form of communication to ask the student to only point at the answers. The student can work well, with normal teaching pace.

The twelve year student suffering from CP shows that he is in a critical stage of cognitive development. The educator   should well be aware that this stage. According to, Jean Piaget theory of development, the child at this stage is able to understand things. This means that the educator is not supposed to use any assertive method but instead be polite and help the student in understanding. The student at this age is also well able to classify objects in terms of series depending on their several features based on a particular dimension like size. This therefore helps the instructor to use a learning stage such as the use of boxes for various problem solving activities. The student age also enables him to thinks logically in testing hypothesis and abstract propositions in a systematic way.  The student can also be helping understand various ideological, hypothetical, and future problems he might face (Boyle, & Danforth, 2001).

The student should be helped to with physiological needs because this is the most important and fundamental need of all human beings according to Maslows hierarchy of needs theory. These are the metabolic needs such s food, water and air  clothing and food which is important for human  survival, other needs include  providing a sense  of  belonging and love and for the student  to have  positive  self esteem(Maslow, 1954, p 91).

Unit 3 Assessment

Deciding on the assessment method of the child suffering from Cerebral Palsy largely depends on the Childs learning capacity. The main defect which hinders the child from learning normally is due to sensory distortion and inadequacy caused by the defects on the brains central organization. The standard test is an example of and accommodative assessment strategy which include IEP and instruction. Such a test is the high stake test which may affect end year promotional evaluation.

The mentor is of great help to the student. In assessment, the teacher should weigh between oral testing verses written testing. For this cal a student suffering from CP has communication problem. It would therefore be preferable to use a written test which the student can type on the computer key board. The student should also be given alternative projects of tackling mathematical calculations. The student can be give n stick rods for counting and a fruit like an apple to cut in demonstrating the understanding of fractions. For any written questions, the teacher has to use big fonts and he can use non oral form of communication where the child can simply point out the answers. The main or the key words should be highlighted to help the student get better understanding of the answer and to solve any visual problems. The assessment time for any exam given to a student should consider students with CP because of the pace of writing.

Reflective journal

By incorporating the various innovative strategies in the learning process, the student was able to write his assignments by the use of the computer.  In teaching the student with CP is had to be mindful of mobility problem of the student. I had to make    the   classroom spacious for the student to easily move. Providing the right technology to the student is also important in all the areas of the student learning. This means that needs have to be fulfilled. The strategies used are meant to help a child with CP comprehend various aspects and learn way. These strategies are for the cognitive developmental stage the child is in. I also had to incorporate parents and therapists in the learning process of the student as well as the students aide.  Another effective strategy was to help the child be part of a learning group with his classmates (Turnbull, Turnbull, & Wehmeyer, 2007).


Maslow, Abraham. Motivation and personality. Harper and Row New York, New York 1954 pg 9

Smith, T., Polloway, A., Patton, J.., & Dowdy, A. (2001).  Teaching students with special needs in inclusive settings, publishers Allyn and Bacon.

Boyle, J.., & Danforth, S. (2001) Cases in special education (2nd edition). New York, NY:  The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

Turnbull, A., Turnbull, R. & Wehmeyer, M. L. (2007) todays multicultural, bilingual, and diverse schools, In Exceptional Lives: Special Education in Todays Schools, 5th ed. New York, NY: Pearson.


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