Students with Challenging Behaviors
Students who have challenging behavior and other physical disability usually have a hard time when they are in an unfamiliar or unfavorable environment. When they are included as part of the regular classroom, the situation may become worse especially in areas where the other students or teachers do not know how to treat them. It can be especially challenging for the young ones. Adults who have had an accident and they have been impaired also find it difficult. It is also a difficult thing to deal with for people who are of a school going age.
Children with special needs fall into different categories. There are those with physical impairments such as cerebral palsy, Spina bifida and autism, those who have intellectual challenges and the ones with sensory impairments such as hearing or seeing problems. People faced with this problem find it difficult to get along with others because they are not easily understood and they are not able to do the things that other people can do.
The behaviors may be due to medical, mental or psychiatric conditions or even the surrounding environment of the person. Other causes may include accidents and genetic factors. A person who has this problem is likely to portray it in various ways. He or she may result to having aggressive behavior, keep to himself most of the times and to some extent he or she may also be violent.
It is necessary for the person to feel normal. A child who is undergoing such a problem should be made to feel secure and accepted. Early intervention is important. It is more beneficial than when the child matures (Odom, et al, 2009). A person with challenging behavior is said to be one who behaves in such a way that he may endanger himself or herself or place other people in danger or in a risky situation. It is also behavior, which limits a person or denies a person the chance to enjoy or use facilities and other things (CDDH, 2005).
Many teachers who are in mainstream classrooms usually feel unprepared to handle children with different disabilities and other challenges. They see it as a disruption to their daily schedules. In a normal class setting, the students who have disabilities usually perform poorly as compared to the able ones. It is also notable that the number of disabled students who are graduating is declining (Scruggs & Mastropieri, 2009).
People with physical challenges are not as quick or as coordinated like the other children. They may also have difficulties in communicating, as their speech may be slow to develop. Things that appear simple and enjoyable to other people may prove otherwise to the challenged students. Young children may find coloring fun but it is not so to those who are not able to hold a crayon or colored pencil in their hands. In the same way, some teenagers may find things like games or dance fun. The situation is not the same to the physically challenged.
These are the problems that teachers find difficult to handle or they may not be able to handle them. Diseases such as cerebral palsy present challenges such as coordination. The disease affects a part of the brain that is responsible for controlling movement. People with this disease will therefore have a problem with hand coordination. Autism affects a person’s speech. The person will have problems socializing with others and may avoid being in the presence of other people. They use various body movements to indicate how they are feeling at a particular time or when they are showing their reaction to something.
Spina bifida is also a severe medical condition. It causes nerve damage and the person has many accompanying problems such as bowel and urinary problems. The person also experiences learning difficulties. He or she may be forced to use a wheel chair since the disease affects the spinal column (MedlinePlus, 2010). Other problems such as total blindness and deafness will require the person to learn in institutions where they have specialized trainers. It would not be wise for the student who has any of these conditions to study in a normal school setting.
There are measures that can be put in place to make sure that they deal with the situation easily. For instance, it can improve facilities such as sinks to make sure that a person who is using a wheel chair is able to use them. In places where they use staircases, they could provide an alternative way and they could put elevators. The administration should be at the forefront to ensure that there are facilities in place to help such students. They should develop a syllabus that will help the students instead of punishing them.
Some students will learn using non-verbal means. It is important for the teacher to consider using pictures, charts, physical things and gestures. The students might respond using similar gestures, a smile, or any other thing. The teacher should therefore realize that using conventional methods of learning would not work with everybody. There are benefits on integrating students with challenges in a normal school setting. It is a form of therapy for the student with the challenges.
It will give the child an opportunity to interact with the other children and experience a new side of life. This is important for the child because he or she will be able to focus on learning and improving himself or herself more instead of wallowing in self-pity. They will also learn how not to focus on themselves and they will learn interaction and tolerance. The experience will make them strong and independent and they will make new friends. A change of the environment will also be beneficial to them.
The other students will also benefit from the experience. They will get a chance to learn how to interact with people who are of a different disposition from them. They will learn how to see beyond the disability or the limitation of the person and they will learn what acceptance is. The teachers have to get training on how to educate the challenged students. As such, they will benefit from the experience and they will gain more knowledge. Students do not have to have a high IQ for them to be considered intelligent.
There are children and adults with a low IQ who happen to excel in other areas such as music, art and sports. It is therefore imperative for everybody involved to take time and recognize the areas where the child is gifted instead of always expecting them to excel in the classroom. This way, the student can then be encouraged to develop in their areas of expertise. Some famous people have overcome their physical and intellectual challenges and they have gone on to become influential people in the society. A person like Stevie Wonder has been blind all his life but he has overcome all obstacles and he is an internationally known musician and pianist. Others participate in sports and even go to the Olympics.
Children with disabilities face much discrimination not only from their peers but also from the society as a whole. This discrimination can be either direct or indirect. The government has implemented several laws to make sure that these children know their rights and they are treated fairly. The no child left behind act of 2001 is a good example of the government’s efforts to integrate all children in the education system regardless of their race, ability or socio-economic background. Other previous laws are also important such as the ones that require all children with learning needs to be accommodated. The equal opportunity legislation also identifies various forms of discrimination.
The disability standards for education that were put in place in 2005 provide the disabled students with an opportunity to have the same quality of education as the able students. The aim of doing this was to make the process of accommodating students easier. The students should not be discriminated upon just because they are disabled. They should be respected and should be treated fairly. The standards emphasize the contents of the Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act of 1992. Under the act, employers are required to employ displaced people who have qualified for the position.
The disabled students can access all the facilities and other services that are offered to other students. They should in no way argue based on being disabled. Apart from this, the standards also recognize that people with discrimination face a lot of harassment from other people. They should not be mistreated by the teachers or fellow students. Everything should be put in place to ensure that the students have everything they require. If there are any complaints regarding these standards, the complainant is free to take the matters to the court. In this case, the matter can be referred to the Federal Court of Australia or to the Federal Magistrate Court.
The concept of challenged students, the physically disabled and other disabilities is not new. Wherever these words or the people who have these conditions are mentioned, the word discrimination is not left behind. The larger society has made sure that the disabled never really feel the sense of belonging. The situation is not as bad as it was some years back. There is still much room for improvement and much more can be done. It is not something that only happens in Australia. Worldwide, the situation is very bad in some places.
There are areas where the laws protecting the disabled do not exist. In other places, they only exist but they are not practiced. The disabled do not have a voice and when they find it, no one is willing to listen to them. There is a need for schools to integrate students who are challenged. Teachers and other educators should be trained on how to deal with different difficulties. Materials for teaching should also be provided. They should also learn how to interact with them and teach the other students to do so. In the end, everyone is equal.
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