Emotional, Behavioral and Physical Disabilities
There are concepts that must be addressed in order to classify a student as having a behavioral and emotional disability. One of the concepts is that the student should portray symptoms of behavioral, emotional and social functioning that differ from what is acceptable. Moreover, the behaviors should have a negative effect on their classroom and social adjustment. A social educational setting has students with various disabilities, skills, temperaments and abilities.
A physical or health impaired student is defined as having a disability when the condition greatly affects the educational performance of that student. Physical impairments range from those resulting from congenital abnormalities and diseases such as bone tuberculosis and poliomyelitis. The other class is orthopedic impairments which compromise the central nervous system. Central nervous system impairments may result to the loss of control of some parts of the body either functionally or non-functionally. Other health impairments recognized include limited alertness, vitality, and increased sensitivity to environmental stimuli resulting to reduced alertness to educational environment (Odom, Horner and Snell, 2009).
The defining characteristics for special education program are conditions that severely affect a child educational performance. A child with such conditions should be taught is a specially designed instructional setting so as to nurture the abilities and skills needed to study. It is not possible to describe characteristics of physical disabilities in form of a group because they have different descriptions.
Students who have behavioral and emotional disorders most of the times face problems regarding internalization and externalization of behavior. A child who has externalizing problems often portrays anti-social behavior while a child with internalizing problem may lack adequate social skills and inappropriately interact with other children and peers. Majority of the children with emotional and behavioral disorders have an IQ that is below average and perform poorly. Moreover, such students have a high risk of developing learning disabilities and challenges in getting time and maintaining friends. Some students with emotional and behavioral disorders eventually join gangs and get arrested in the course of their education years (Odom, et al, 2009).
Teachers teaching students with emotional and behavior disabilities should have knowledge of strategies that can help to control the behavior of such students. Instead of punishing children who behave unruly, special educators should put more focus on the consequences of such behaviors. At the start of an academic year, educators and students need to form a set of regulations and rules that should be conformed to in the classroom as well as the consequences that should be follows in instances of breaking the rules. The benefit of formulating consequences is that in case a student breaks a given rule, it would be easy for an educator to refer to the implemented rules and make use of the consequences as a form of instructing a student rather than a form of punishment. Research studies indicate that educators who lay emphasis on punitive measures most of the times receive counter aggressive behavior from students (Garqiulo, 2010).
A strategy through which educators can manage students behavior is through tolerating or ignoring the behavior in cases where the behavior in question is not severe. The other strategy is signal interference, which involves signaling to students indicating that they are crossing the set limit, by use of a hand gesture or wink. Proximity behavior is the other strategy, which involves standing close to a child in the course of teaching in order to reduce the behavior. The other strategy is interest boosting whereby an educator makes a lesson extremely interesting to the extent of making a student more interested in the lesson rather than a behavior (Odom, et al, 2009).
Teaching students with physical disabilities require environment modification strategies. One of them is placement of furniture and classroom equipment whereby computer tables, desks and health equipment should be placed in a manner that makes them more accessible to students who have physical disabilities. Moreover, educators need to make sure that physically impaired students can easily access learning modalities in a similar way to other students without disabilities.
Educators should give students with behavioral, emotional, physical and health disabilities several opportunities to give their responses during instruction. This will boost and nurture their self-determination and self esteem. The use of direct instruction and continual and success reduction of assistance is also recommendable. Differential reinforcement is also advisable and this entails praising students on specific tasks at a time that is unexpected. Acknowledging of appropriate behavior either in informal or formal social events is essential in the promotion of self-esteem and self-advocacy skills in students with emotional, behavioral, traumatic brain injury and physical and health disabilities (Garqiulo, 2010).
There should be integration of individual student support system with the general school discipline systems. This is especially useful as a form of tertiary and secondary preventive measures for students who are most likely to cause harm and hence in need of an environment that is more restrictive. Positive behavioral support programs should also be developed to help students with behavioral and emotional impairments. Students with such disabilities should be given support and encouraged so that they can achieve educational success. They should not be isolated or made to feel out of place because this will lead to demoralization and under-motivation. Diverse classroom instruction is a way through which such students can be given support, attention and inspiration to take part in the learning process (Odom, et al, 2009).
In order to enable regular students to respect, understand and appropriately respond to students who have disabilities, inclusive education is recommendable. This is a form of learning that incorporates both regular and disabled students. This form of education not only promotes diversity but it also promotes and enables regular students to accept and respect their disabled counterparts. Training programs on the various forms of disabilities and intervention measures should be developed in order to help regular students attain knowledge about the forms of disabilities. This will also enable them to know that people with disabilities are part of our societies and are in dire need of acceptance, respect and understanding (Garqiulo, 2010).
The most vital part of a special educator is to understand the various complexities associated with special children with emotionally or physically impairing conditions. The educator has to make some changes or adjustments regardless of whether the disability nature is mild, severe or moderate. The medication should ensure that optimal student achievement from the learning process. Individual curriculum changes as well as strategies for classroom organization and management are of the essence to special educators.
Garqiulo, R. M. (2010). Special Education in Contemporary Society. An Introduction to Exceptionality (4th Ed). SAGE
Odom, S. L., Horner, R. H., & Snell, M. E. (2009). Handbook of Developmental Disabilities. Guilford press
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