Today, there are many learners with a whole range of special needs that may set them apart from the majority of students in a classroom. These learners may have physically handicapping conditions – such as visual, hearing, orthopedic and speech problems; learning disabilities- based on slow progress in basic skills and language-related areas; emotional disabilities or even circumstantial disabilities that would make their behavior in a classroom special interest to you as a teacher. The surprising fact about these learners today, is that, regardless of their disabilities, their special needs or even discriminations at some points, they have acquired education and benefitted from it to lead meaningful lives as those of the `normal` people. Therefore, before we have a look at these disabilities, how these learners have overcome their disabilities to acquire education and how have they benefitted from it, it is important to start by knowing what disability actually is. What is disability?
The WHO defines disabilities as: Disabilities is an umbrella term, covering: •Impairments- problems in body function or alterations in body structure – for example, paralysis or blindness; •activity limitations- are difficulties in executing activities – for example, walking or eating; •Participation restrictions- are problems with involvement in any area of life – for example, facing discrimina¬tion in employment or transportation.
Thus disability is a complex phenomenon, reflecting an interaction between features of a person’s body and features of the society in which he or she lives. What is inability?
Inability (to do something) is the fact of not being able to do something. Disability is not inability, therefore generally means that people with any impairments, activity limitations or participation restrictions are not lagging behind in achieving their goals. In fact they have optimized whatever they have to lead a meaningful life. Therefore, to define the claim “disability is not inability” in relation to learners with special needs, let’s begin to look at the different categories of special needs or disabilities and how they are dealt with to make acquisition of education possible, together by having a look at different case studies. LEARNERS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS
There is often a difficulty in talking about them since they are not a homogenous population anymore than are `normal` children. There is a great range of differences among them. However they can be categorized as such: PHYSICALLY DISABLED
This category applies to people with major physical problems, such as celebral palsy or spina bifida, whose mobility and other functions are impaired as a result. Spina bifida is a developmental birth defect involving the neural tube, incomplete closure of the embryonic neural tube results in an incompletely formed spinal cord. Rene Kirby - Rene Kirby (born February 27, 1955) is an American film and television actor. Kirby used spina bifida to his advantage when he played his role in shallow Hal, he was also in "Stuck on you" with Matt Damon. He is the living proof that you can lead a productive life even with disabilities. Cerebral palsy (CP) is an umbrella term encompassing a group of non-progressive, non-contagious diseases that cause physical disability in human development. Karen Ann Killilea - (born August 18, 1940) - is the subject of two bestselling books by her mother Marie Killilea, Karen and With Love from Karen. These books were groundbreaking in their assertion that children with cerebral palsy could be raised to lead productive lives. Karen Killilea was born three months prematurely and as a result of her prematurity, she developed cerebral palsy. After she was diagnosed, Karen's parents decided to actively raise her at home, contrary to the advice of doctors to commit her to an...