Exceptional Children

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Exceptional Children

Exceptional Children


'Learning disability' used to be known as mental handicap or mental retardation. If a child has a general learning disability this means that, compared to most people, it is more difficult for them to understand and learn. Such a child will develop more slowly than other children of the same age even during pre-school years. The degree of disability can vary greatly. It can be so severe that the child is unable to speak and even as an adult, will need help with ordinary tasks such as feeding, dressing, or going to the toilet.

On the other hand, the disability may be mild so that, in time, the children grow up to become independent. However, even when mildly affected, it will be harder for the child to work things out. This will make it more difficult to cope with the more complex side of life, like managing money(Coleman Minnett 1992 ). The more severe the learning disability, the more likely it is that other forms of disability will also be present including epilepsy, autism and various physical disabilities. These also vary in severity and may be so mild that they are missed if not locked for. For example, physical disability may be so severe that the child has difficulty in walking or using their arms. On the other hand, it may be so mild that it just shows as clumsiness in a child who has difficulty in learning or climb or run. Other disabilities can also be present, affecting the hearing, sight or speech and making it harder for the child to cope. General learning disability is different from specific learning difficulty, which mean that the person finds one particular thing hard but manages well in every thing else. For example, a child can have a specific learning difficulty in reading, writing or understanding what is said to them, but their overall ability is normal (Adelman, 1993).

Categories Of Exceptional Children With Focus On The Mild And Moderate Disabilities

Mild Learning Disabilities

One important characteristic of individuals with mild disabilities is that the disability is not visibly apparent. The nature of a “hidden disability” often results in misunderstandings where adults demand that a child simply “try harder” rather than understand the need to provide appropriate accommodations. Calloway (1999) summarizes the characteristics often associated with mild disabilities as follows: cognitive characteristics (intellectual ability, attentional deficits, memory and thinking skills); academic characteristics (reading, language arts, mathematics) and social-emotional characteristics (pp. 27-35). Students with mild disabilities are typically included in the general education classroom with some support services provided. 

Given the impact of mild disabilities on cognitive functioning, it is essential that educators recognize the impact of a disability on academic performance in order to plan appropriate interventions(Bryan 1997). In this report, we examine three critical issues: recognizing an academic performance problem, identifying a trigger event, and calculating the remediation vs. compensation equation.  Schools routinely evaluate academic performance. Every classroom has extensive systems in place to identify failure, adequate performance, and exceptional performance.

Rather than addressing the issues of poor performance, educators often search for reasons to explain poor performance, become sidetracked, and fail to intervene with appropriate ...
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