It’s hard to imagine a time when children with disabilities did not have access or the rights to an equal education as those students without disabilities. Prior to 1975, many children with disabilities were living in large institutions or went to private schools.
President Gerald Ford signed into the Education For All Handicapped Children Act (Pubic Law-94-142) now knowns as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The purpose of IDEA is to protect the rights of infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities and to provide equal access to children for children with disabilities. The following list describes the 13 categories of IDEA eligibility including the definition below:
A child with a disability is defined as a child evaluated as having an intellectual disability, hearing impairment (including deafness), a speech or language impairment, visual impairment (including blindness), a serious emotional disturbance, an orthopedic impairment, autism, traumatic brain injury, an other health impairment, a specific learning disability, deaf-blindness, or multiple disabilities who need special education and related services.
Autism means developmental disability significantly affecting verbal and nonverbal communication and social integration, generally evident before age 3, that adversely affect a child’s educational performance. Other characteristics often associated with autism are engagement in repetitive activities and stereotyped movements, resistance to environmental change or change in daily routines, and unusual responses to sensory experiences.
Deaf-blindness- defined as having both visual and hearing impairments. The combination of which causes such severe communication and other developmental and education needs that they cannot be accommodated in special education programs.
Deafness- a hearing impairment that is so severe that the child is impaired in processing linguistic information through hearing, or with or without amplification, that adversely affects a child educational performance.
Emotional disturbance- a condition exhibiting one or more of the following characteristics over a long period of time
Hearing impairment- an impairment in hearing, whether permanent or fluctuating that adversely affects a child’s performance but that is not included under the definition of deafness.
Intellectual disability- significantly lower general intellectual functioning, existing concurrently with deficits in adaptive behavior and manifested during the developmental period, that adversely affect a child’s educational performance.
Multiple disabilities- A combination of impairments (such as intellectual disability-blindness or intellectual disability-orthopedic impairment). The combination causes severe educational needs that they cannot be accomplished in special education program solely for one of the impairments.
Orthopedic impairment- a severe orthopedic impairment that adversely affects a child’s educational performance. The term includes impairments caused by a congenital anomaly, impairments caused by diseases (e.g. Poliomyelitis) and impairment causes (e.g. cerebral palsy, amputations, and fractures or burns that cause contractures)
Other health impairments- having limited strength, vitality, or alertness including a heightened alertness to environmental stimuli that results in limited alertness with respect to the educational environment that is due to chronic or acute health problems such as asthma, ADHD, diabetes, epilepsy, heart condition, sickle cell anemia and Tourette syndrome which adversely affects a child’s education performance.
Specific learning disability- a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language spoken or written that may manifest itself in the imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell or to do mathematical calculations including conditions such as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, dyslexia and developmental aphasia.
Speech or language impairment- a communication disorder such as stuttering impaired articulation, a language impairment, or a voice impairment that adversely affects a child’s educational performance.
Traumatic brain injury- An acquired injury to the brain caused by an external physical force, resulting in total or partial functional disability or psychosocial impairment or both. Traumatic brain injury applies to open or closed head injuries resulting in impairments in one or more areas, such as cognition, language, memory, attention, reasoning, abstract thinking, judgement, problem-solving, sensory, perceptual motor abilities and information processing and speech.
Visual impairment including blindness- an impairment in vision that, even with correction, adversely affects a child’s educational performance. The term includes both partial sight and blindness.
Rett syndrome is a neurodevelopmental disorder occurring mostly in females in which the child exhibits reduced muscle tone, autistic-like behaviors, stereotyped hand movements consisting of wringing and waving. It is a rare disorder that affects about 1 out of 10,000 children and is the most genetic causes of severe intellectual disability in females. Due to similarities to autism and cerebral palsy, it is often misdiagnosed.
Signs similar to autism include outburst, eye contact avoidance, lack of social reciprocity, sensory issues and loss of speech. Signs of Rett syndrome similar to cerebral palsy include short stature, difficulty with walking, gait movement difficulties and delayed ability to walk.
Typically, children born with Rett syndrome develop normally until the age of 6 and 18 months and reach typical development milestones including eye contact, rolling over and grasping objects. As children grow, motor development begins to slow such as walking and muscle movement. The first signs is usually the loss of muscle tone where the child’s arms and legs appear “floppy.”
May is Williams Syndrome Awareness Month. It is a rare genetic condition that affects over 1 in 10,000 people worldwide. If you teach in a special needs classroom or work in an adult day habilitation program, it is likely you have experienced working and teaching a student or individual diagnosed with Williams Syndrome. Below you will find some interesting facts and statistics on the disorder:
It is a genetic condition that is present a birth.
It is a developmental disorder
Tend to have a mild or moderate intellectual disability.
It is also known as Beuren Syndrome and Williams-Beuren Syndrome.
The symptoms were first described by John C.P. Williams in 1961.
A year later, German Physician, A.J. Beuren described three new incidents of patients with similar facial features.
It is caused by the spontaneous deletion of 26-28 genes on Chromosome #7
The deletion is caused by either the sperm or the egg.
The deletion is present at the time of conception
The most common symptoms of Williams Syndrome includes unusual facial features and heart defects.
The diagnosis is typically confirmed after identifying facial features and genetic testing.
An individual with Williams Syndrome has a 50% chance of passing the disorder on to their children.
Williams Syndrome affects 1 in 10,000 people worldwide.
An estimated 20,000 to 30,000 people in the United States are affected.
It occurs in both males and females equally
It is found in every culture
Individuals with Williams Syndrome tend to be overly friendly.
People with Williams Syndrome often have difficulty with visual-spatial tasks
Congenital heart defects (CHD) occur in approximately 75 percent of children
By the age of 30, the majority of individuals with Williams Syndrome have pre-diabetes or diabetes.
Cerebral Palsy is defined as a group of disorders of movement and posture causing limitations due to abnormal development in the brain. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), many children and adults with cerebral palsy also had at least one co-occurring condition and in some cases more than one. for example, it is not unusual for and individual to have a diagnoses of cerebral palsy with a co-occurring condition of epilepsy and an intellectual disability and associative issues with an eating disorder.
Understanding both co-occurring conditions and associative disorders is essential in order to develop an effective teaching strategy.
associative issues include aspiration, dysphagia, digestive issues, seizures, intellectual disability, sleep disorder, and speech impairments.
The following links and articles includes information that contain research studies, articles and practical information.
March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness month! Although I blogged the definition of developmental disabilities here, I wanted to give you more information besides the Federal regulation. Quite often, people are confused between the definition of an intellectual disability and a developmental disability.
A developmental disability is described as an assortment of chronic conditions that are due to mental or physical impairments or both. For example, you may have a child or an adult with an intellectual disability or perhaps a person diagnosed with cerebral palsy and an intellectual disability. It is also considered a severe and chronic disability that can occur up to the age of 22, hence the word developmental. A developmental disability can occur before birth such as genetic disorders (i.e. cri du chat, fragile x syndrome,) or chromosomes ( i.e. Down syndrome, Edwards syndrome); during birth (lack of oxygen) or after birth up to the age of 22 (i.e. head injuries, child abuse or accidents).
The disability is likely to occur indefinitely meaning the person will require some type of ongoing service throughout their lives. Finally, the person must show limitations in 3 or more of the following areas of major life activities:
Self-care– brushing teeth, hand-washing and combing hair independently
Receptive and expressive language-ability to understand someone talking and to also be understood
Learning– ability to read and write with understanding
Mobilityability to move around without any assistance
Self-direction– time management, organization
Capacity for independent living– requiring no supervision
Economic self-sufficiency – having a job and purchasing what one needs
Here are some examples of a developmental disability:
Does everyone with a disability also have a developmental disability?
The answer is no. there are people with disabilities such as epilepsy and cerebral palsy simply have a disability based on the criteria listed above. However, many people with developmental disabilities quite often have a combination of disabilities. For example a child with autism may also have seizures and an intellectual disability or an adult may have cerebral palsy, intellectual disability and epilepsy. In addition there are many people in the spectrum of autism who also have ADHD and so forth.
So what’s the difference between an intellectual disability and a developmental disability?
A person with an intellectual disability falls under the category of a developmental disability meaning you can have an intellectual disability and a developmental disability. check here for the definition of an intellectual disability, you will see they are quite similar. Below is an infographic created by Centers on Disease Control:
Today is International Angelman Syndrome Day. It is a day to bring awareness to this disorder.
Angelman Syndrome is a genetic disorder that affects the nervous system, characteristics that include developmental delays, intellectual disability, and speech impairments. Angelman syndrome generally go unnoticed until the age of 1 year. Children typically have a happy demeanor and have a fascination with water