Labeling: Disability and Special Education

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Journal Entry I

What are Exceptional children and what place do they have in our schools?

Exceptional children are children who are either exceptionally gifted or children with exceptional learning disabilities. These are children whose performances are way above the average child or way below the average child. When they perform way above the average child, they are called gifted. When they perform way below the average, we say they are children with learning disabilities.

Like any other child, these children with exceptionalities are also a part of our society. Therefore it is important that they get the same opportunities as other children. Sometimes these children are clled Special and are placed in a special education program. However there are some children who never attended school.

Journal entry II

Reflection Journal Entry I

What is Labeling? A tag used to identify children with learning disabilities.

Types of Labeling – Slow learners, lazy, unmotivated, rude, dumb and disgusting.

Advantages of Labeling

1. Had it not been for labeling there would not have been any funds for educational programs for children with learning disabilities.

2. Labeling allows professionals to meet so that they can work together for a common goal to help facilitate children with learning disabilities.

3. Labeling has led to the development of specialized teaching methods, assignment approaches and behavioural interventions that are useful for all teachers including teachers who teach children with learning disabilities (Hallahah and Kauffman, 1982)

4. Labeling may make the majority without disabilities more tolerant of the minority with disabilities. People may tolerate the actions of children identified as having intellectual disabilities than their peers without intellectual disabilities who would be criticized.

5. Labeling the disability spotlights the problems imposed for the public. Labeling can spark social concern and aid advocacy effects.

6. The human mind requires “mental hooks” to think about problems. If present categorical labels were abolished, a new set of descriptors would evolve to take their place. There is ample evidence of this in the evolution of the term “mildly disable”.

Disadvantages of Labeling

1. Although all children have some behavioural problems, labels can exaggerate a student’s actions in the eyes of a teacher. A tacher may overact to behaviour of a labeled child that would be tolerated in another.

2. Labels send a clear message. The learning problem is with the student. Labels tend to obscure the essence of teaching and leaning as a two-way street. Some children that are placed in a mild disability category are said to have nothing wrong with them, however they are the recipients of ineffective schooling

3. Labeling shape teacher expectation. Imagine what your reaction would be if you as a teacher were told that you had a mildly retarded child in your class. Studies on teacher expectations have demonstrated that what teachers believe about student capability is directly related to students achievement.

4. Labels perpetuate the notion that students with mild disabilities are qualitatively different from other children. That is not true. Students with disabilities go through the same developmental stages as their peers, although sometimes at a slower pace.

5. Students can not receive special education services until they are labeled. In many instances, the intervention comes too late. The need to students before help arrives undermines a preventive approach to mild learning problems.

6. Teachers may confuse the student with the label. Labels reflect categories of disabilities. Categories are abstract, not real, concepts that the general enough to incorporate many different individuals. Each child is a unique human being. When a student is placed in a...
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