Exceptional Lives: Special Education in Today's Schools (3rd Edition)

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9780130308535: Exceptional Lives: Special Education in Today's Schools (3rd Edition)

For introductory courses in Special Education. The authors of this introductory text have a vision for special education-to equip general and special education teachers with the principles, values and teaching practices that support the education of the majority of students with disabilities in general education programs. Beginning with a thorough review of the principles that undergird IDEA and the process of nondiscriminatory evaluation, the authors explore the teaching and collaborative processes necessary for implementing best practices and Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 1997. Using a categorical approach, the authors highlight real students with real disabilities and use their stories as a vehicle for describing the characteristics, causes, and challenges that people with exceptionalities face and that both general and special education teachers must consider when making decisions about how, where, and what to teach.

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From the Back Cover:

A Principled Approach: Strategies and interventions are based on six core values for working with students with exceptionalities: envisioning great expectations; enhancing positive contributions; building on strengths; acting on choices; expanding relationships; and ensuring full citizenship.

Real People, 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, and their teachers.

A Focus on Inclusion: While acknowledging the very real challenges of inclusion, the authors believe that the great majority of students with disabilities can receive an appropriate education in general education classrooms if programs and classrooms are designed for individualized instruction, if supplementary supports and services are available, and if educators are prepared to work in inclusive environments. This book prepares educators to make inclusion work.

Practical Ideas for Today's Classrooms: Newly organized chapters spotlight curricular goals and teaching methods, which are demonstrated in the Programs in Practice section of each categorical chapter. Into Practice boxes also share best practices for inclusive education.

The Most Current Coverage: New coverage of important topics such as behavior management, assistive technology, and universal design as well as an increased focus on collaboration and early intervention. Hundreds of new references and resources have been added.

Integrated Multimedia: State-of-the-art topical coverage is matched with new, integrated technology features:

  • New Multimedia My Voice, Multimedia Making a Difference, and Multimedia Into Practice feature boxes have links to the companion website and ABC/Prentice Hall video library.
  • Six new segments have been added to the ABC/Prentice Hall video library, for a total of 22 current and issues-based segments.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Our Vision

When we wrote the second edition of this book, we set out our vision for special education. It's worth repeating here. We hope you will adopt it as your own:

When principles and values guide teaching techniques and when the techniques are at a state-of-the-art level, no challenge that confronts students, families, schools, communities, or policy leaders is too daunting.

A Value-Based Book

You will find our six values in Chapter 1 and indeed elsewhere throughout our book. They are

  • Envisioning great expectations for students
  • Enhancing their positive contributions to schools and communities
  • Building on their inherent strengths
  • Enabling them to make and act on their own choices
  • Encouraging them to expand their relationships with people who have and do not have disabilities
  • Honoring their rights and ensuring especially that they have rights and opportunities to be full citizens of this country.

Every chapter returns to these six principles. Sometimes, these principles will be explicit. Sometimes, implicit. Look for them, and incorporate them into your life as a teacher and as a citizen. You will be surprised what a difference you will make when you put these values behind your techniques.

Features of the Text

Real People, 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, teachers, 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.

Emphasis on Today's Schools

What an exciting time this is. A turn of the century, yes; a new millennium, yes. But those are hackneyed milestones. The real milestones are small and sometimes hard to find; yet iii when they are laid out consecutively, one after the other, they create a path that was unimagined when special education began as a discipline nearly a century ago. There is no need to go that far back. Indeed, the markers to the schools of today were first laid twenty-five years ago when Congress enacted the federal special education law. Today's schools are indeed the legacies of the past, but, more, they are the creatures of imaginative educators, policy leaders, family members, and, yes, students themselves. If you want to teach in today's schools and be ready to teach in tomorrow's, we invite you into the exceptional lives that we portray here. Each life, each school . . . those are the milestones of the recent past and of the immediate future. And they are the focus of this book.

Inclusion

When we wrote the first edition of this book (copyright 1995), we were clear about one thing: we favored including students with disabilities in the classes that students without disabilities attended. When we wrote the second edition (1999), we were equally keen on inclusion. But in both editions, we were clear about this one caveat: no inclusion without support. When Congress amended the federal education law in 1997, it reinforced the law's presumption that students with disabilities should be educated with students without disabilities to the maximum extent appropriate for the students with disabilities. This edition shows you the many ways that Congress strengthened the inclusion provisions; it also shows you how to practice inclusion and the benefits—and limitations—of inclusion. What's really behind inclusion? Granted, it is a technique for more appropriately educating students with disabilities; and, yes, it is a civil right. But most of all, it is the path toward a different America—one in which everyone is valuable, without regard to their disabilities or great giftedness.

Universal Design

Almost certainly, you are familiar with public buildings constructed some 50 or more years ago. The county courthouse. The city library. The school you attended. Remember what they looked like from the outside? Were there ramps for people in wheelchairs? Doubtful. Remember what they looked like inside? Were there elevators with lights and bells to alert you to the- elevator's movement? Doubtful. Were they designed so that everyone—repeat: everyone—could come into them and use them, whether or not the person had a disability? Doubtful.

In that kind of "built environment," inclusion was nearly impossible. Full citizenship was elusive. Relationships could not be made and solidified. Great expectations excluded those individuals who were excluded from the environment. The positive contributions and strengths that people with disabilities could make were limited. So were their choices about how to live their lives.

Nearly three decades ago, Congress asked America to change. Open the buildings. Create opportunities. And that's exactly what Americans did. And as we changed the "built environment," we began to understand something profound about the "teaching environment," about the curriculum. It was this: a curriculum that excludes students with disabilities is just as limiting as a building that excludes them. Our response was to change the curriculum, so that it now can accommodate students with so many different types of strengths and needs without denying any single one of them the benefit of being educated with the others. We call this universal design—the design of the curriculum so that it yields benefits to everyone, universally. You will read about this new approach in our book; it is a state-of-the-art technique that we believe should accompany the six values you have just read about.

Collaboration

By collaborating with each other, students, their families, teachers and other professionals can ensure that every child with a disability and every supremely gifted or talented child can have an appropriate education, one that benefits them and in turn benefits society as a whole. None of us is independent; we are all interdependent. That is why, when it comes to education, we have to collaborate with each other. Remember your study groups? That's collaboration. In special education, we call it cooperative learning. A different name, but the same game: working together so that everyone benefits.

Technology

As authors of this textbook, we strive to provide you with the most current information about state-of-the-art interventions and instructional practices for individuals with special needs. This manner of reporting the most current information about best practices has led us to make technology a cornerstone of this textbook as well.

With coverage of the latest hardware, software, and assistive technologies that students learn more and better, and help teachers teach more effectively, we continue to advance this book into the twenty-first century.

Text Organization

The First three chapters are the foundation for the rest of the book. They tell a bit about history, a little more about the law that Congress passed in 1975 and that it amended in 1997, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and a great deal about today's schools—about how they evaluate students and then provide them with an appropriate education. Having laid the foundation (Chapters 1 through 3), we build on it (Chapters 4 through 16) by describing the education of various types of "categories" of students with disabilities.

Chapter Format

You will find that Chapters 4 through 16 have the same "flavor" and format. Their similar flavor comes from the six values that crop up in each. Their similar format is their structure, which is- the shared across all of the "categorical" chapters. By using a similar format, we can introduce you to real students, families, and teachers, emphasizing their common characteristics and describing special education services as they are now organized. Each of the categorical chapters follows this order:

  • Vignettes. We begin each chapter with a vignette, a short portrait of real students, real families, and real educators. The students in these vignettes 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, explaining how and why they evaluate students (does the student described in the vignette have a disability?) and then provide special education and related services to them (if so, what should schools do about it?). You will notice that the process of evaluation is the same, no matter what the student's "category" is. That 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 deter. mining whether a student is exceptional, and if so what kind of education should be provided. Many of these evaluation tools, however, are suitable for students across various categories, a fact we note as appropriate.
  • Establishing Effective Teaching Practices. In the last section 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 the curriculum and curricular goals that are appropriate for students in the "category" that is the topic of the chapter. Second, we describe in practical terms how to implement instruction, especially in inclusive settings, featuring the universal design curriculum that is most appropriate for the students. Third, we illustrate how model schools provide that curriculum at four different age-levels: early intervention and early childhood, elementary, middle and secondary, and transitional and post-secondary. Finally, we write about inclusion and collaboration, those techniques that make an exceptional student's education truly exceptional.
  • A Vision for the Future and Chapter Summary. Having begun each chapter with a vignette describing the student today, we wrap up the narrative with a projection, 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

The following special features highlight the people who have exceptionalities and those who work to improve their lives.

  • Feature Boxes. Throughout each chapter are personal accounts of persons with exceptionalities or those who are involved in their education. These accounts are boxes that describe best instructional practices. "My Voice" boxes provide first-person descriptions of the unique joys, challenges, and triumphs associated with special education. "Making a Difference" boxes profile individuals who, through example and effort, are changing the lives of people with disabilities. "Into Practice" boxes exemplify best practices in teaching and highlight programs that support students in general and special education.
  • Multimedia Feature Boxes. These features take the form of "My Voice," "Making a Difference," and "Into Practice" boxes but go one step further to link readers to multimedia resources on video and on the Internet. Integrated into these multimedia feature boxes are links to the segments from the accompanying ABC News Video library that illustrate people living exceptional lives and the issues they face, and to our Companion Website, where students can find on-line resources.
  • Into Practice with Technology. New to this edition, "Into Practice with Technology" boxes feature various high-tech, low-tech, and assistive technology solutions used to educate and meet the unique needs of students with exceptionalities. This feature, present in each chapter, addresses the increasingly important role all kinds of technology plays in and efficiently
  • Inclusion Tips. "Inclusion Tips" feature boxes present strategies that facilitate successful interaction between exceptional students and their classrooms peers and describe a wide variety of ways for students, parents, teachers, administrators, and general classroom and special education teachers to work together to support the inclusion of students with exceptionalities in classrooms and communities. Instructors who recall "Collaboration Tips" from the last edition will now find these feature boxes on the Companion Website.
  • Figures. Each chapter has figures illustrating its narrative content. In every categorical chapter, an assessment figure synthesizes practices of screening, identification, evaluation, and special education programming.
  • Margin Notes. Each chapter has margin notes that cross-reference other portions of the book or tell you how to get more information from our Companion Website.

Supplements

Several ancillaries supplement this text:

  • ABC News Video Library—Exceptional Lives, Exceptional Issues, Volumes 1 and 2. Integrated into the multimedia feature boxes are video selections from recent ABC news programs. These video segments highlight people living exceptional lives and the issues they face, and are sure to spark lively and reflective class discussions. For this edition, six new segments have been added to the ABC News Video Library, for a total of twenty-two segments.
  • Student Study Guide. A Student Study Guide helps students understand, analyze, and evaluate the chapter concepts and prepare for in-class lectures and presentations. Each chapter in the Student Study Guide covers instructional objectives, key issues, and focus questions, and provides a guided review of the chapter content and vocabulary. Self-check quizzes (with a complete answer key) help students measure their comprehension and prepare for exams. Application exercises and ideas for completing individual or group projects are also included to encourage authentic, concrete learning experiences.
  • PowerPoint Slides/Transparency Masters. These visual aids display, summarize, and help explain core information presented in the textbook. They can be downloaded from our Companion Website, customized o...

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