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Provision of education in the current world has been faced with many challenges especially regarding the equality issues in the society. This paper addresses the social implications of attitude, legislation and litigation on the lives of students with disabilities.
Over the years, disabled people in the society have been forced to live with many challenges regarding their disabled status. Disabled people have several problems in terms of movement, education and many other social activities as they are not able to participate and be able to be involved in these activities. The education sector has not been left out as the disabled students are faced with many challenges in learning compared to their fellow students who are not disabled. The society has been forced to come up with ways in which the disabled can be given preferential treatment and services compared to the other members of the society through introduction of legislation and mitigations to govern the education of the disabled.
For the past years, the services given to people with disability especially in the education sector have been ineffective as a result of several reasons that cause poor service delivery to the disabled in the special education sector. Financial issue has been a major hindrance in provision of services in the special education sector as there have been issues of fewer funds allocated to this sector. There is also a problem regarding logistics as the assistance and services offered by several agencies require a lot of effort for them to act and give the necessary help needed (Gordon, 2004 p.72-89).
The attitude of people towards people with disabilities has several impacts on the lives of the people living with disabilities. The disabled have been forced to live with the impacts of negative social attitude towards them and a further social stigma apart from the larger problem they are facing regarding their mental or physical impediments as a result of their disability. The negative attitude towards people with disabilities can be seen through social rejection of disabled people by the society members a vice that is present across several cultures. People with disabilities have several more needs than that of a normal person and therefore there is development of a notion in the society that people with disabilities are a burden to the society. This factor helps nature the negative attitude towards people with disabilities in the society. This negative attitude impacts negatively on the lives of students with disabilities as it makes them see themselves as a burden to the society from their many needs and furthers the social stigma these students are faced with a factor that impacts negatively on their education. Attitude towards people with disability has been negatively displayed through several cultures that see mental retardation as souls that are possessed by evil spirits or punished by God and hence require religious interventions or exorcism. Such attitudes vested in the minds of people impacts negatively on their attitude towards the disabled as they are forced to see the disabled as less human beings and further the social stigma faced by people with disability (Gordon, 2004 p.72-89)
Students without disability have negative social response to other students with disabilities especially the mentally retarded as a result o f their negative attitude towards them despite the several measures that have been developed to alter this that include legislative support, improved care and the improved and sophisticated ways to give a medical account of the origin of different disabilities. The fact that disabled students were treated differently from the other students by introduction of special education that was mainly provided in special classrooms or even special schools a fact that furthered the stigma among the disabled students as these meant they were not equal to their counterparts who are not disabled (Ramirez).
Provision of education to the disabled students has become a major challenge to different governments and states. Educators have been faced with challenges of how best they can provide education to the disabled and has seen the introduction of special education that meant that disabled students were not included in classrooms with other able students and meant placement in separate classrooms or schools. The social attitude that the disabled students should be treated separately as a result of their disability is totally wrong and it discouraged the formation of laws that would govern the general education of exceptional students or disabled students on the basis that separating the students with disabilities from those who are not disabled is far from making them equal and that all the students had equal protection from the law. The thinking that the disabled students should be separated from their fellow students has greatly changed as a result inequality that results from this action and therefore there was need to develop the legislations and litigations that govern the education of students with disabilities (Ramirez, 2003 p. 12).
Several rulings against segregation by the United States Supreme Court set the pace in the search for equality in the education sector that included people with disability. The famous Fourteen Amendment provides the right to equal education for any member of the state and no state may deny equal right to education to any person within its jurisdiction. Students with disabilities have a right to equal education like their nondisabled counterparts as provided by the law. The provision of special education that was initially provided outside the regular classroom is now provided in the regular classroom and there is no separation of the disabled students from the classroom hence they learn together a system referred to as inclusion (Ramirez, 2003 p. 13).
Legislations and litigations have been passed to govern the education of the disabled students. The conception of special education by the congress as it passed an act that education would be provided for all the handicapped children and guaranteed the provision of public education to all students irrespective of their ability which provided the basis for inclusive learning. It provided that every student was eligible to receive appropriate public education and have the opportunity to learn in a no restriction environment. In inclusive learning, general education provided to students works in cooperation with special education with the main aim of provision of quality education programs to the students irrespective of their disability. Such legislations provided that students with disabilities both in public and private institutions would receive education with the nondisabled students, there should be no special classes, separate schooling and that no student should be removed in their classes unless the severity of the disability hinders the provision of education to that student totally (Ramirez, 2003 p. 12).
The inclusion of the disabled students into mainstream classes with other fellow nondisabled students has some positive and negative impacts to the students with disability.
Though we may say that the disabled students benefit in this environment through social and academic interaction with the other students, it is hard to ignore the fact that they are forced to encounter harsh academic competition from their fellow nondisabled students. The inclusion of the disabled students in the same classes as the nondisabled students increases the pressure on both the teacher and the disabled students to be at par with their fellow nondisabled students and failure to do so may increase the stigma in the student. The current education climate may not favor much the education and performance of certain disability cases like the mentally retarded hence special education will improve categorically in the future.
Students with disability are faced with many challenges in life as a result of their disable status. Introduction of legislations and litigation to govern their education is a first positive step in ensuring they benefit from education provided in institutions. Social forums and public education should also be encouraged so as to help change the attitude of the society towards people with disability hence improving their lives.