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9780131533998

Exceptional Lives: Special Education In Today's Schools - Fourth Edition

Rud Turnbull; Ann Turnbull; Marilyn Shank; Sean J. Smith Author

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This best-selling volume is widely recognized for its innovation and accessibility: it equips the reader with principles, values, and practices that support teaching the majority of students with disabilities within the scope of general education programs. The authors showcase real students with real disabilities—letting their stories illustrate, as nothing else could, the challenges faced by people with exceptionalities, and the myriad factors those working with them must consider when making decisions about how, where, and what to teach. Through four engaging themes—universal design for learning, inclusion, collaboration, and multicultural awareness—this book explores the processes necessary for using “best practices” to achieve the goals set forth by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 1997. Packaged with a CD-ROM that contains more than an hour of actual classroom footage, this book actually puts the reader “in the classroom.” This engaging book addresses general learning disabilities, emotional or behavioral disabilities, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, giftedness, mental retardation, severe and multiple disabilities, autism, physical disabilities, traumatic brain injury, communication disorders, hearing loss, and visual impairments. For special education educators, curriculum planners, therapists, school administration employees, and parents of children with special needs.

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From the Back Cover:

Widely recognized for its innovation and accessibility through real-life stories, the new edition of Exceptional Lives helps prepare readers to become effective special educators using four themes: universal design for learning, inclusion, collaboration, and multicultural responsiveness.

Real Kids, Real Families, Real Issues:

Every student in each chapter's opening vignette is a real person. Within each chapter as well as, in the My Voice and Making a Difference boxes, real people's stories are integrated to provide additional insight into the exceptional lives of students with disabilities, their families, their teachers, and other important professionals who impact these students' lives.

Strategies and Tips for Special Education and General Education Teachers:

Into Practice shows practical, step-by-step strategies and examples that will help pre-service general and special education teachers implement instruction in their classrooms.

Inclusion Tips provide helpful advice and strategies for inclusion in regard to specific disability issues.

Technology Tips highlight a technology teachers can use in the classroom (or one that supports classroom instruction) to help meet the educational needs of students with disabilities. (New!)

Collaboration Tips describe collaborative processes and strategies that can help teachers achieve a. particular-and appropriate goal for students with the specific disability featured in the chapter. (New!)

Including All Students:

Planning Universally Designed Learning sections in each chapter address how teachers can augment, alter, or adapt curriculum, instruction, and evaluation to assure all students' progress in the general curriculum. (New!)

Multicultural Considerations features in each chapter provide meaningful information and prepare teachers to consider the broad cultural backgrounds of their students. (New!)

Inclusive Classrooms: Video Cases on CD-ROM Activity and Learning Guide comes packaged with every copy of the text. With over an hour of video footage, this new CD-ROM provides immediate access to living classroom examples of teaching and learning strategies for inclusion. These video clips, grouped by topic and classroom, give the preservice teacher a good picture of what inclusion looks like in a preschool, an elementary school, a middle school, and a secondary school. (New!)

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Our Vision

Consider two different lives, those of the children of three of the authors. Jay Turnbull is 35; that means he was one of the very first students to benefit from the federal special education law (enacted in 1975, when he was 8 years old). In those days, special education was in its infancy; the education he received was good enough—nothing great except occasionally and then largely because of a few exceptionally gifted teachers.

Nolan Smith is two. That means he is one of the many students who is now benefitting from a well-developed special education system that came into his life at the very beginning—not, as in Jay's case, when he was entering his ninth year of life. Unlike Jay, Nolan will benefit from new teaching techniques (universally designed learning), new models (inclusion and access to the general curriculum), new procedures (collaboration), and new understandings (about them and their peers from multicultural backgrounds). That is exactly how it should be: The new ways should replace the old if they provide more benefits. So much for looking back. Now, let's look forward.

Our vision defies specification. It is general, nothing more. One part of it is that what educators now regard as new will persist if it benefits students—all students, not just those with disabilities. Another part is that educators will continue to develop better ways to raise America's children. Yet another is that our country will finally face the realities of poverty and diversity and commit resources—not money alone, but also imagination and courage—to the students and families who are traditionally un- and under-served.

To the degree that this book makes it possible for educators to leave no child and family and teacher behind, fine. But there must be more. We educators must find better ways to educate children. And we must find the common ground and the new words to make it self-evident that we have not done enough for those who are, by one measure or another, "exceptional."

Only when "un" and "under" are purged from "served" and replaced with "well and rightly" will America's schools fulfill their promise: full citizenship for all students. That is what Jay sought and eventually received; that is what Nolan can almost take for granted, at least for now; and that is the birthright of all students and the obligation of all educators.

Our Book's Organization

Chapters 1 through 3 lay the foundation for the rest of our book. They tell a bit about history, quite a lot about the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the law that Congress passed in 1975 and that it amended in 1997, and a great deal about today's schools. Most of all, they introduce you to our primary message: All teachers can educate students with disabilities, especially in the general curriculum, by using the principles of universal design, inclusion, collaboration, and multicultural responsiveness. We build on this foundation by describing in Chapters 4 through 16 how to educate students in special education—those who have disabilities (Chapters 4 though 6 and 8 through 16 are about student; various kinds of disabilities) and those who have unusual gifts and talents (Chapter 7). When we write about the students with various kinds of exceptionalities, we use a "categorical" approach: Each chapter describes a different "category" or type of student—for example, Chapter 4 describes those with learning disabilities and Chapter 5 describes those with emotional or behavioral disorders.

Chapter Format

Chapters 4 through 16 have the same "flavor" and format. Their similar flavor comes from the four themes that we weave throughout each chapter: universal design, inclusion, collaboration, and multicultural responsiveness. Their similar format comes from the way we present our information. Each chapter follows this order:

  • Vignettes. We begin each chapter with a vignette, a short portrait of real students, real families, and real educators-the people in today's schools. These people represent a wide range of cultural, ethnic, linguistic, and socioeconomic groups, and they live in a wide variety of geographic locations.
  • Categorical Information. Next, we define the exceptionality, describe its characteristics, and identify its causes and prevalence. At the beginning of each chapter, you get a sharp picture of the exceptionality, framed in its most basic dimensions.
  • Evaluation Procedures. Now we take you into teachers' working environments. We explain how and why educators evaluate students (does the student described in the vignette have a disability or is the student unusually gifted?) and then how educators provide special education and related services. The process of evaluation is the same for all students with disabilities, no matter what the student's "category" is. This is because the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act sets out a standardized process. But the tools—the evaluation instruments—vary by category. We describe one for each category, one state-of-the-art way for determining whether a student is exceptional and, if so, the kind of education that schools should offer. Many of these evaluation tools, however, are suitable for students across various categories, as we often point out.
  • Assuring Progress in the General Curriculum. In the second half of each chapter, we address four major issues facing teachers in today's schools. Veteran users of this textbook will notice changes in this section that make the book more applied, more pragmatic, and more responsive to the realities of the inclusive classroom. First, we write about including students in the general curriculum in the most appropriate manner for the specific "category" being discussed. Second, we describe in practical terms how to plan universally designed learning by augmenting, altering, or adapting curriculum and instruction, and evaluation. Third, we write about collaboration and how it can make an exceptional student's education truly exceptional. Finally, we discuss how students' different ethnic, linguistic, and cultural backgrounds affect their education.
  • Learning from Others Who Teach Students with Exceptionalities. In the last section of each chapter, we illustrate how "best practice" programs provide inclusive, universally designed, and collaborative curriculum and instruction, in inclusive settings, at four different age-levels: early intervention and early childhood; elementary; middle and secondary; and transitional and post-secondary.
  • A Vision for the Future and Chapter Summary. Having begun each chapter with a vignette describing the student today, we conclude our narrative by looking toward the student's future and imagining it as it can be if educators and schools do as we suggest. We end by summarizing the main points of the chapter.

Special Chapter Features

Real Students, Real Educators Real Families, Real Issues

This is not a book of fiction. There are no imagined characters here. Every student, every teacher, every parent, every friend is real. To tell their stories serves a powerful didactic purpose: to describe, in their own words and through these snapshots of their lives, how special education benefits each and every one of them. These students, educators, family members, and friends show you what can happen—how exceptional lives can be made all the more exceptional—when you approach them on the basis of principles and state-of-the-art teaching techniques.

  • Chapter Vignettes narrate the stories of these students and their families, friends, teachers, and other educators and service providers. We refer to these vignettes throughout each chapter to exemplify our key points and content.
  • My Voice is a personal account or reflection about having a disability or talents and about how education affects the person's life; it further connects you to real people and helps you understand the impact you and others can make.
  • Making a Difference describes how one person or a group of people has touched the lives of individuals with exceptionalities, often through their careers. These stories are samples of best practices and show how educators can overcome obstacles to appropriate education in the general curriculum.

Strategies and Tips for Special Education Teachers

The majority of students with disabilities can progress in the general education curriculum if educators will design programs and classrooms for individualized instruction; provide supplementary supports and services; collaborate with families, other professionals, and community agencies; and respond to the multicultural backgrounds of today's students. So, we offer several guides for general and special educators.

  • Into Practice describes practical, step-by-step examples of how to use universal design, secure inclusion, practice collaboration, and respond to the multicultural nature of American schools.
  • Inclusion Tips provide helpful advice and strategies for including students in the general curriculum. We address student behaviors, social interactions, educational performance and classroom attitudes in relation to what teachers may see in the classroom, what they may be tempted to do, other responses, and best practices for including the student's peers in the process.
  • Technology Tips highlight a technology teachers can use in the classroom (or one that supports classroom instruction) to help meet the educational needs of students with disabilities. The technology featured can be anything from a software program to an assistive or adaptive technology, or even specific educational websites.
  • Collaboration Tips describe how collaborative partnerships, processes, and strategies can help in achieving an appropriate education in inclusive settings.

Including All Students

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