Written to reflect the changing field of special education, this book presents current, practical information related to students with learning disabilities and emotional/behavioral disorders. The authors use a systems perspective to describe the characteristics of and issues related to students with high incidence disabilities. This is the first book available to combine discussion of these two disabilities. Chapter topics cover the nature of and assumptions regarding learning disabilities and emotional/behavioral disorders; developmental context; biological factors and temperament; cognitive, language, and social-emotional characteristics; family factors; school and classroom factors; cultural diversity and gender; screening to placement; supporting learning and behavior change; accommodating students in inclusive settings; adolescents and adults with learning disabilities or emotional/behavioral disorders; and prevention and early intervention of learning disabilities and emotional/behavioral disorders. For special education teachers.
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"Things are changing too quickly. I can't seem to keep up. Children are changing. Families are changing. Schools are changing. And society is changing."—(Jean H., teacher)
"I was hired to teach girls and boys with learning disabilities. But every child in my caseload presents social and behavioral problems, as well as learning problems."—(Hector L., teacher)
"There is not one student in this room who doesn't have a learning disability, and they're all classified as emotionally/behaviorally disordered. It is really frustrating trying to meet all their needs."—(Debra H., teacher)
In our everyday interactions with general education and special education teachers in community schools and university classrooms, we hear these or similar comments over and over again. Teachers such as Jean, Hector, and Debra are not unique. They have thousands of colleagues who daily face the challenges of instructing students with learning disabilities and emotional/behavioral disorders. Their task is difficult.
Jean H. is correct. Things are changing rapidly. Children are bringing more and more complex problems and issues through the classroom door. Teachers must confront and help their students resolve these problems and issues. Society, as those of us from the previous generation knew and experienced it, is vastly different today. Changes are occurring in the family, neighborhood, school, the development and management of knowledge, personal and societal values and standards, transportation, commerce, and the conduct of local, national, and international affairs.
Schools are changing. The small intimate neighborhood school has given way to the large, impersonal community school. Teachers are no longer neighbors and friends, but professionals frequently living outside of the community they serve. Student populations are multicultural, multiracial, and multilingual and include learners with disabilities or at risk for disabilities, who are being increasingly included in general education classrooms and schools.
Academic standards in the general education classroom are more demanding with the advent of state-wide testing. The imposition of higher standards has increased demands on teacher time. As a consequence, teachers have less time and energy to attend to those students who deviate from the norm academically or behaviorally, or who can't keep up with their more talented peers.
The extended, traditional nuclear family with father, mother, children, grandparents, aunts, and uncles has changed to a broad array of parenting structures, such as the neolocal nuclear family of mother, father, and children often living many miles from relatives, single-parent families, foster families, and blended families. The impact of poverty on families has increased. More mothers must work outside the home to sustain the family economically during the child-rearing years. More fathers are absent from home.
The children in our classrooms and schools present a broad range of racial, cultural, linguistic, religious, economic, and social characteristics. There are more and more children of poverty and children who are maltreated, abused, and neglected in our schools. The number of children presenting learning disabilities and emotional/behavioral disorders has increased dramatically during the past twenty-five years, and continues to increase annually.
Students with Learning Disabilities or Emotional/Behavioral Disorders responds to a small part of the many and diverse problems confronting general education and special education teachers who are challenged by children and youth with learning disabilities and emotional/behavioral disorders. It offers an integrated perspective to understanding working with students with learning disabilities or emotional/behavioral disorders. We recognize the contribution of various conceptual models to the understanding of these students. In addition, we emphasize that learning disabilities and emotional/behavioral disorders are complex issues, and must be understood within the context in which they occur.
The first section of the text introduces students with learning disabilities or emotional/behavioral disorders. Chapter One provides an overview of learning disabilities and emotional/behavioral disorders, followed by a description of the nature of assumptions regarding learning disabilities and emotional/behavioral disorders (Chapter Two). Chapter Three continues with a description of the developmental contexts in which students develop. In Chapter Four we present biological issues and a discussion of temperament, followed by a discussion of the cognitive, language, and social-emotional characteristics of students with learning disabilities or emotional/behavioral disorders (Chapter Five).
In Chapter Six, family factors that put students at risk for learning disabilities or emotional/behavior disorders and family involvement are discussed. School and classroom issues and strategies follow in Chapter Seven. In Chapter Eight, issues related to cultural diversity and gender and identification as learning disabled or emotionally/behaviorally disordered are presented.
In subsequent chapters we explore how students are identified and placed in special education (Chapter Nine) and how learning and behavior changes are supported for individuals (Chapter Ten) and for an entire class or school (Chapter Eleven). Chapter Twelve describes inclusive environments. In Chapter Thirteen, we discuss adolescents and adults with learning disabilities or emotional/behavioral disorders. The text concludes in Chapter Fourteen with a description of preventive efforts.
Special thanks to Ann Davis, `who supported this project, and Pat Grogg, whose smile we could feel through the telephone. Also, thanks to our reviewers who made this a better text with constructive comments and criticisms: Jeffrey P. Bakken, Illinois State University; Kathleen Briseno, College of DuPage (IL); Maryann Dudzinski, Valparaiso University (IN); Barbara K. Given, George Mason University (VA); Carol Moore, Troy State University (AL); and Susan Sperry Smith, Cardinal Stritch University (WI).
Anne M. Bauer
Charlotte H. Keefe
Thomas M. Shea
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