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Strategies to Integrate Children with Dyspraxia

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Published: Mon, 12 Feb 2018

Dyspraxia is a learning disability that comes in three forms verbal, motor and oral whereby the child may have average or above average intelligence but the brain works in a different manner it is hard for the child to demonstrate their knowledge, i.e. reading comprehension may be affected because the processing of the information is different, as with verbal and/or written/symbolic comprehension.

The problem with such a learning difficulty makes it hard for teachers to evaluate the progress and intelligence of the child and normal learning assignments and exams may prove an impossible form of evaluation. Therefore it is essential that the teacher works with the child to understand the learning processes of the child, attempting to provide methods that will either enable the child to take part in normal forms of evaluation or endeavor to produce an alternative form, but equivalent to the mainstream evaluation.

Dyspraxia can be remedied in part by retraining and advancing the child’s method of expressing their comprehension and evaluation. This is a pertinent role of the teacher, because to separate the child may have adverse effects as the child can comprehend internally the information only it expression is less advanced. Therefore this discussion will explore some theories of teaching methods comparing and contrasting the benefits of one-on-one teaching to that of mainstream teaching at the foundation level. It will also highlight the strategies of the teacher in order to integrate children with Dyspraxia at the foundation level.

Chapter 2 – Review of Literature:

Teaching Strategies:

It is at the foundation levels that children with Dyspraxia have most learning difficulties because their comprehension is average but there level of expression of this comprehension is limited. Therefore it is at this stage that these children have to be trained to express and advance their expression. In short it would be necessary for there to be accommodations to be made in the education system to ensure that the teaching of these children is sufficient. The arguments to creating teaching methods into the mainstream education system at the foundation level are very similar to the arguments of employing disabled persons in the workplace. The first argument will follow the arguments for integration into the workforce and then will consider specific teaching methods. The first main argument is whether there should be differential treatment for the children with Dyspraxia.

To understand the extent that the current disability rights are effective one must understand there is a difference between a mere legal right and an inherent (also known as substantive) right. Hohfeld has been the most significant jurisprudential thinker to discuss the difference between the varying types of rights. The focus of Hohfeld’s analysis of rights is from an analytical perspective; the main aim of Hohfeld’s work was to clarify exactly what rights are. Hohfeld’s analysis of rights is split into four different categories which are; claim-right; privilege; power and immunity.

These rights have been put together into a grid of entitlements which enables one to understand the nature and content of rights; which the individual has in varying degrees. It is this clear and precise method that makes Hohfeld’s analysis fundamental to rights interpretation within legal arenas. This exploration is going to argue that this exposition of rights is essential to jurisprudence and understanding the nature of rights. Under English law Hohfeld’s analysis clearly expresses how varying degrees of rights are contained under the Human Rights Act 1998 and do not conflict with parliamentary sovereignty. As Helen Fenwick discusses:

“Under Hohfeld’s view… it becomes clear that, traditionally, most freedoms in the UK were merely liberties; one did no wrong to exercise them, but there was no positive duty on any organ of the state to facilitate them… When the Human Rights Act 1998 came fully into force… many Hohfeldian liberties became rights in Hofeldian terms since… public authorities have been laid under a positive duty to respect them” .

Hohfeld’s analysis is that the confusion over the nature of rights has been effectively eliminated. In contrast to the controversies in theorists such as Dworkin , Kymlicka , Kant and MacKinnon , it does not get trapped into confusing the nature of rights with the justification of rights. If one applies this to problems concerning gender; discrimination; animal; and environmental rights one could actually apply a type of right in order to rectify the legal and moral inequities. Legal and political philosophers have gotten too tied up in justifying rights, that they have confused the meaning of right. Hohfeld has provided an interesting tool in order to level the playing field, because the question concerning the equality of rights is no longer an issue.

Instead Hohfeld’s analysis allows for different right-elements to be applied in different situations. Therefore Hohfeld’s analysis can be applied to both legal analysis and moral quandaries, which means that one in addition to clarifying rights can use this analysis as a tool to justifying rights.

Hohfeld was very humble in his aims for his analysis of rights, because it has provided more than a tool to clarify rights. For example if one applied this problem to media law where there are conflicts in the right to privacy and the freedom of press, these rights possibly fall into the categories of immunity; claim-right; and privilege. The problem is that they are competing rights and if one applies the level of right, also to the specific facts then the confusion that has happened between courts would be a lot less likely. In short Hohfeld’s analysis has taken out all the moral quandaries in the nature of rights; and has provided an analytical method to apply to both moral quandaries and the justification of rights. This will become more apparent in the following chapters. 

In relation to absolute human rights or substantive rights then these are immunities which the government cannot interfere with; however a mere legal right is a privilege whereby the government has provided disability rights, but there is no need to provide these rights and may be taken away if in the government’s interest. Therefore this illustrates the importance of making disability rights substantive rights but not only in the workplace but also in schools. This means if integration is the best form because it makes such a disability socially acceptable then this should be the method taken. In order to do this there must be specialized teaching methods which the teachers use and have a duty to provide in much the same way that employers have to provide special adaptations for disabled adults.

The Learning Disabilities Association of America argues that the student from an early age should be subject to a curriculum that mirrors that of the child without disability, only with “some accommodations and modifications may be necessary”. They argue that these modifications should take the form of an Individual Education Programme whereby for students with reading difficulties or expression of comprehension through reading should have a mixture of one-on-one reading with a teacher and should also be provided with texts that are on tape so that they can follow along with the reading material.

If the problem is of the memory or the inability to take down information, i.e. motor problems the teacher should provide a taped lesson for the child, teacher and parents to review at a speed whereby the child can than express their comprehension. If the motor skill impede too much then a special software programme through voice should be used. Also children with Dyspraxia at the foundation level may find expression easier by using other forms of expression, i.e. songs, rhymes, dances, tapes etc. Also along the same line to help expression of comprehension and teach how to express properly then using the other senses such as touch should be considered. These are teaching techniques that all children can use therefore this will not impede the other learners at the foundation level; as well as letting the teacher be more innovative and creative as well as building the blocks for the Individual Education Programme of the Dyspraxic child.

The Australian Dyspraxic Support Group also advances techniques to help the child express their comprehension of the educative material. This group does not seem to indicate that there should be either specialized teaching or integration into the mainstream education system at the foundational levels. The aim seems to be to help the child and ensure that their intelligence is not impeded by stereotypes with putting the right teaching techniques with child. Therefore if it is motor based Dyspraxia it is to specialize teaching in developing the organization and capability of the planned expression of comprehension in the ways that the child can.

If it is verbal Dyspraxia then development of the speech processes and other forms of communication should be developed and finally if it is oral Dyspraxia then written forms of communication should be used and also attempts to develop speech skills should be introduced. Therefore the use of sensory and taped materials would will really benefit the development of the child at the foundation level. Also to have integration will expose the child to mimic and use ways of communication that isolation would be unable to do so. Therefore one can infer that mainstream integration at the foundation levels would be the best approach.

Belinda Hill advances in her article and research for the Dyspraxia Association of Ireland that technological aides can be used to integrate children with verbal and oral Dyspraxia. These aides include speaking computers, machines that enhance speech, machines that have a set response when a specific button is pushed, communication through symbols. These aides will help a child integrate and not feel lost in a world of communication. This would provide confidence and social development of a child which isolated education could not provide. 

The Dyspraxia Association of New Zealand advances a lesser advanced strategy but focuses on the necessity of the child be integrated into the mainstream educational system from the foundation level as their research shows that the best development of a child with this disability is to base the education as every other child’s education the classroom teacher. The teacher would have to use a slightly different technique but evaluation and development should be on similar lines as other children. In their guidelines in what the teacher can do is as follows:

Figure One – What the Teacher can do:

Make allowances, lower expectations in spite of child seeming bright enough.

Allow more time.

Adjust quantity of work.

Give gentle reminders.

Good teaching practices win every time.

Listen to parent, who knows this child better than anyone ever will.

Break tasks down into more manageable parts – simplify!

Don’t assume the child has understood.

Give single instructions rather than a string because …

If you treat the child the same as the others, his failure rate will be immeasurably higher than it needs to be. He knows that he is not the same; a higher failure rate means a very much lower self esteem, etc., etc.

The key factor that this table shows is the child should not be segregated as it may reduce the self-esteem of the child and cause an inferiority complex. This will be interesting to contrast with the view of those who advance home schooling who believe that main stream education is disadvantaging children of all developmental elements. This will be the focus of the discussion, with a brief review of the literature in the following section. Yet the teaching techniques point to integration is possible maybe even favorable to that of specialized teaching.

The key point is that integration should include an Individual Education Programme and understanding of the disability much in the same way that adaptations and understanding are essential to adaptations in the disability workplace as the following legal cases will illustrate. Therefore such a duty should be imposed on teachers for modifications if employers have a duty to their disabled employees; otherwise the arguments about the degradation of mainstream education will succeed.

The issue of inequality in the workplace has long been established, along with the disabled because neither has been seen to be fully human in the same way as a man, because women may become pregnant and want maternity needs and the disabled person may need special needs or possibly fall ill. In reality able-bodied men may need paternity needs or fall ill, however this is not seen as likely for them and they provide the marker for how all other persons should be treated, even if disabled . This seems to be irrational thinking, but still a major concern with employers today, especially in relation to promotions and redundancies , yet the EAT has ruled that redundancies cannot occur due to disability, the question of reasonable adaptations have to be taken into account .

The extent of reasonable adaptations was questioned in Kenny v Hampshire Constabulary where it was determined that they are only reasonable in the doing of the job and easily adaptable but not to personal needs. In addition the employer has a defence of justification against reasonable adaptation which makes the notion of reasonable adaptation pointless and returns to the objective marker as being the able bodied man , because the reasonable adaptation cases are too contradictory. This was recognized in Heinz v Kendrick were it made a positive move forward in ensuring disability rights. . In 2001 this seems to have been tightened with the Cosgrove Case where it was held that “an employer who fails to consider making adjustments as required by DDA 1995 s.6 cannot escape liability for that failure simply on the basis that the disabled employee was unable to suggest an appropriate adjustment.”

It has also been question what stipulates disabled, one test is the evidence of medical experts and not the opinion of the employer and tribunal; hence iterating an objective medical test . In Goodwin v Patent Office it was held that:
The Tribunal was wrong to focus on the fact that Mr Goodwin could cope unaided at home, and to assume from this that he therefore fell outside the definition of disability in the Act. The evidence was that Mr Goodwin was unable to hold a normal conversation, behaved strangely at times and had significantly impaired concentration. All this clearly pointed, on a broad and purposive interpretation of the Act, to his being disabled under the law.

In Cruickshank v VAW Motorcars a test was created to include various forms of disability, in addition to include the subjectivity of the individual as different disabilities or illness affect individuals in different manner; so the effect of the individual as well as the disability at the time of discrimination is taken into account. These cases should be taken into the education system to ensure along the same vein that teachers are endeavoring to integrate Dyspraxic children into the foundational levels of the education system, rather than leaving them on the side.

This is key to the self-esteem and the development of a child who is of average or above intelligence but has problems in expression. In order to do this the child needs to be afforded substantive rights to appropriate education, much in the same way that the argument from home schoolers bases their argument; however as the discussion will illustrate the home-schooling or specialized education may be the only route if the appropriate attention and development of the education system is not attended to. The following section will consider some of the ethical literature with the problem of integration, if appropriate teaching methods and educational standard is not being afforded to children at the foundation levels (and beyond). 

Problems with Integration:

The results may prove that it is not impossible for children with Dyspraxia to be integrated into the mainstream education system. Yet as the results also suggest although it is possible to integrate children with Dyspraxia into the mainstream education system it may not be in the best interests of the child. Also the other children in the system and the teacher have to be considered because if the teacher is not properly educated in teaching children with disabilities this means that the child will not receive the benefits of the integration, also either this child or the rest of the children will be deprived of the teacher’s attention. Also this may also add further stresses on the teacher’s resources and may impose too many duties on the teacher. As Aquinas points out the most important aspect about learning and education is self-development the attainment of the individual’s perfection. This cannot always be dictated by mainstream education; therefore this discussion will introduce this angle into the conversation, which will be focused on the discussion.

The union of soul and body is no chastisement of the soul but a salutary bond through which the human soul will reach its full perfection. This is not a theory forged expressly for the particular case of the soul. Rather, it is the case which is necessarily governed according to metaphysical principles, and their scope is universal. The less perfect is ordered toward the more perfect as toward its end; it is for it; not against it… Each creature exists for its own act and its own perfection…. Individuals exist for the perfection of the universe… The reason for the existence of a determined substance or determined mode of existence is never to be found in an evil but in a good.

This analysis of the human, as represented by Aquinas, as argued by Gilson portrays a notion of a higher purpose for each individual. This purpose links to the soul and is an integral part of God’s creation. Aquinas’ theory is entrenched in religious thought from the Catholic Church of the 13th Century; where science, theology, philosophy and politics where within the church’s domain and the central belief is that man was created for God’s purpose and life and death was His domain. The following exploration will consider the theological and philosophical concerns of Aquinas in relation to the individual and the idea of the body and life and attaining knowledge through education.

The theological concern of Aquinas’ theory is the attainment of perfection, because in the nature of being each is at a different level of perfection with God as the Supreme Being. This is a very important part of Aquinas’ five ways, the basis of his cosmological and teleological arguments. Therefore this provides a modicum of self-determination at the hands of God; however humanity unlike the rest of God’s creations has been given freewill in order to attain a higher level of understanding and development to become further within the image of God, such as the occurrence within the Garden of Eden and the eating of the apple.

In short Aquinas’ theory demonstrates that humanity was given freewill and the ability to attain knowledge in order to achieve the determined level of knowledge, perfection and understanding akin to the level of God; it is this that creates man in God’s image and it is such understanding which allows for the furtherance of scientific discovery; however there are problems when humanity intervenes into the sanctity of life and the determination of life and death; which is the domain of the Necessary Being, the Creator.

Therefore how does this apply to schooling and education? The answer is specialized and integrated schooling is the best method for attaining this self-perfection, if non-integrated schooling is better then the arguments surrounding the notion of social development is null and void. As this chapter of the discussion will illustrate the method that is better method for children to retain knowledge and attain the goal of perfection. This discussion will aim to introduce the validity of integrating into mainstream education at the foundation level, because if is the method that the government wishes to take it should take into consideration not only if the teaching methods are available but whether this is in the best interests of the child especially when there are so many social problems in school; if this is going to hinder the child’s development, especially one with a learning difficulty as Dyspraxia.

So considering the arguments of cultural relativists will hopefully put the problem of mainstream integration into context because it takes away the specific needs of the culture; however this can be applied in the context where culture can be replaced by the society/community of children with Dyspraxia.

The arguments from cultural relativists are the main set of criticisms of universal human rights, i.e. all laws and human development is focused on the rules and traditions of each culture and society. The first and most basic of rights – freedom and autonomy in a secular state – is criticized as very Eurocentric and fails to allow for cultural differences. The main part of universal human rights theory is based upon morality and the cultural relativist would argue that morality is subject to the culture, history and religious founding of each society. Therefore ‘there are no human rights absolutes, that the principles which we may use for judging behaviour are relative to the society in which we are raised, that there is infinite cultural variability and that all cultures are morally equal or valid’. 

This argument undermines the basis of all human rights theory because they all stem from the basis that there is a universal morality. Also it would view non-citizens as an area that each culture would deal with its own cultural norms. The main argument against universality in the 20th and 21st Centuries comes from the resistance to Western Economic Imperialism. Shestack illustrates Claude Levi-Strauss argument in the following manner – all cultures and their differences need to be respected as equally moral to that of the West and that the Universality angle is just another attempt of the West imposing its morality on other cultures, which he believed must be stopped as other cultures should be allowed to develop and evolve naturally. 

Most would agree that the West should not impose its views, governance and culture upon other cultures. Human rights theorists are arguing that morality is outside and transcends these human constructions and is common to all persons, and not part of the development of a society, as cultural relativists would argue. Is it fair that in the name of cultural identity that repression should be allowed causing ‘an obligatory homogeneity and diminishing the place of the individual in the calculus of identity politics’? The most common answer would be no, no-one is saying that cultural identity should be obliterated instead that it is not part of the transcendental nature of the morality of basic human rights and freedoms. These rights and freedoms are not there to suppress culture but should be the logical ends for a culture to aspire to. As Shestack argues that violations of individual’s rights are not affirmed in any valid culture and in fact the religions and culture basis itself on acting for the good of its people and ‘most confirmed relativist scholars are repulsed at practises which are highly coercive and abusive and accept that at least some human rights values are absolute’. 

However, on the whole, the rights and development of each individual from a child is based upon the cultural norms, i.e. development is relative.

The main attack on Universalism is the argument of cultural relativism; it has been argued that there are no universals and all rights are from the construction of society and culture. Therefore if women are treated inferior to their male counterparts, this is the construction of that society and the Western ideals have no right to interfere, as long as the women consent. This begs the question because there is no consent if a system has been biased against your identity for generations.

The cultural relativist argument is so bound in the fact that basic universality comes from the Western Liberal tradition, that it has not taken time out to look at Eastern cultures and what they say are basic to the human being, although that discourse may not be based on autonomy or individuality, certain key ideas come through.
Although not all cultures speak in the discourse of autonomy, arguably they do have the concept of equality and respect that indicates there are rights outside the culture and afforded to people on the essence of being human. Therefore if one assumes that culture equates to the community of Dyspraxic children then it is entirely possible that their needs will not be met in mainstream education. The discussion will further this and aim to show that this is not always the case with respect to the rights of the child and the rights of the teacher in mind.

Chapter 3 – Design of Study:

This study is considering the approaches as well as the justification of integrating children with Dyspraxia in to the mainstream education system as the foundation level, as opposed to giving specialized teaching and integrating at a later stage. In order to do this is will discuss the practical adaptation to include children at the foundation level by considering a range of sources throughout the world that have provided teaching methods for children with Dyspraxia. These sources are internet based as the internet gives the widest range and up to date information on the teaching of children with Dyspraxia.

This study has also considered the benefits of fitting children in the mainstream education system and asking the question whether this is in the best interests of the child, especially with the amount of literature suggesting that other forms of schooling, such as home schooling is a better option especially in a world where morals are degrading. This information is primarily from North America as a lot more home schooling is undertaken, in addition when considering the best interests of the child it is important to consider their rights and choices; as well as the parents, i.e. is it right to impose integration into the foundation system if it is not in the best interests of the child? Therefore an ethical, legal and social perspective has been considered. The rest of this study will now consider whether the aforementioned literature provides a system to whether the teaching methods of integrating children with Dyspraxia would be successful and even so would it be in the best interests of the child. 

Chapter 4 – Methodology:

This discussion will be from a theoretical level comparing and contrasting the different avenues presented to the state on the question whether to impose teaching methods to include children Dyspraxia into mainstream foundation curriculum or to provide specialized teaching. This discussion has assumed that this routine questioning necessarily imposes such a duty therefore the discussion surrounds the legal and ethical consequences of such a duty.

This discussion is from a theoretical perspective and has not dealt with quantitative data; rather it deals with a qualitative approach considering the human rights, ethical and legal questions that arise from imposing teaching strategies to integrate children with Dyspraxia at the foundation level. It presupposes that such teaching methods if beneficial to the child will be imposed by the state. It excludes the possibility that the state will not impose these teaching even if it is the most beneficial course of action to the child. Also it does not include a quantitative and statistical approach to the question.

The search for studies and appropriate research material is done via identifying four types of discussion area; the teaching methods that are available to the teacher; the impacts of the child’s rights of imposing integration v the child rights if the child experiences specialized teaching; the legal implications of imposing new teaching methods and integration; and ethical considerations.

The method of enquiry is as follows examining the problems and benefits of mainstream integration for all children, which may be exacerbated if the child is suffering from Dyspraxia. Then it considers the teaching methods that mainstream integration may utilize. Finally it will consider some of the legal, ethical and social problems of such integration; whereby a duty is imposed by the state to use teaching methods to integrate children into mainstream education at the foundation level curriculum. One also must consider the effects of these teaching methods on the children without the learning disability and the effects and possible additional stress on the teacher. This leads to considerations and consequences in the areas of human rights, the law and ethics will be the focus of the discussion.

Chapter 5 – Statement of Results:

The results point to that as long as the appropriate teaching methods are being applied then integration is the best solution. Yet if the education system is degrading as the following proponents of home schooling advance then it is not in the best interests of the child to integrate at the foundation level because this essential to the whole of the child’s educational future. The methods range from the simple, i.e. more attention, patience to aiding with reading and other methods of expression to the more technological, i.e. special computers, tape recordings and machines.

The problem lies in whether the teacher can get these specialized technologies or has the time to spend extra time with a specific child. This may have a detrimental effect on the other children in the class; however if this special attention is not given then the child will be restricted and hindered and the most foundational years and methods of learning have been lost. This would then lead to the support of specialized teaching that home schoolers purport. The following discussion will explore this further. 

Chapter 6 – Discussion:

Integrating the child in the foundation level of education may or may not be beneficial to the child as it may hinder the long-term education of the child. Therefore prior to exploring the teaching strategies necessary to integrate children with Dyspraxia in the foundation level of the national curriculum, because if these teaching methods hinder the child’s development then the teaching strategies have failed. In order to do this the literature surrounding the benefits of mainstream education, over specialized or home-schooling will be explored in the following discussion.

Benefits v Disadvantages of Integration:

Human beings have been sharing information and skills, and passing along to children whatever they knew, for about a thousand years now. Along the way they have built some very complicated and highly skilled societies. During all those years there were very few teachers in the sense of people whose only work was teaching others what they knew. And until very recently there were no people at all who were trained in teaching as such. People always understood, sensibly enough, that before you could teach something you had to know it yourself. But only very recently did human beings get the extraordinary notion that in order to be able to teach what you knew; you had to spend years being taught how to teach .

Holt is an ardent believer in home schooling and proposes it has no effect on social development; rather it is a better method because it teaches children the reality of life, i.e. the juggling lifestyle with work and learning. In fact Holt proposes that it is the void of institutionalism of education th


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