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Youths with education-related disabilities such learning disabilities, behavioral disorders, and mental retardation, represented a large percentage of those detained and confined in juvenile correction systems. This Independent Learning Project (ILP) is focused on the correlation between youths with learning disabilities and their soaring rate of incarceration. Learning disabilities such as, mental retardation, deafness-blindness, hearing impairment, speech or language impairment, visual impairment, emotional disturbance and autism, can promote delinquency(Keith & Cray, 2002).
The two most common disabilities found in the juvenile justice system are specific learning disability and emotional disturbance. Compared to all students, twenty percent of students with emotional disturbances are arrested at least once before they leave school. The tremendous increase in the rate of incarceration as well as the number of juveniles with disabilities is frightening. The number one predictor of a child at risk for delinquency is academic failure(White 2002). There is an obvious connection between juvenile delinquency and special education.
The problem that youth with learning disabilities face is complex. Due to no fault of their own, these students are subjected to ridicule from family members, peers, and educators. As a result of their learning disability, many youths are unable to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers(Wagner 1995). These youths have difficulty coping with their disabilities and as result may quit school and even leave their parents home to escape humiliation. The most reliable predictors are poor reading performance as early as the third grade, truancy, poor achievement, misbehavior in elementary school, and the failure to
master school skills(White 2002).
Special Education is now an educational service that is mandated by the federal government as well as local agencies to provide an education to children with special needs. In 1817, Gallaudet established the first special education school in the United States, the American Asylum for the Education and Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb (now called the American School for the Deaf). It was established in Hartford, Connecticut. However, Special Education in public schools was not always available to children with needs. Students with disabilities have been present in every era and in every society, nevertheless, these individuals were excluded from society(Kauffman 1981). During the early 1800s, children and adults with disabilities were often abused, neglected, confined to asylum or jailed. The living conditions in these facilities were horrible. Many of the people in the facilities were labeled feebleminded or idiocy which is currently called mental retardation. Insanity or madness was also a label used very loosely, which is currently mental illness. During the mid to late 1800s many children who were judged to be sane were considered to be delinquent or aggressive, and were sent to houses of refuge or reform schools, whereas children and adults judged to be "mad" were admitted to psychiatric hospitals or asylums(Kauffman 1981). By the end of the nineteenth century, institutions had become instruments for permanent segregation. Institutions had grown out of control at a rapid steady pace. Over time these institutions that were housing people with disabilities for their own safety, had become the universal symbol of abuse. Near the end of the nineteenth century, state governments established juvenile courts and social welfare programs, including foster homes, for children and adolescents(Dorn and Fushs 1996). By the 1920s special classes for students deemed unsuitable for regular classes had become common in major cities. In 1977 President Gerald Ford signed into law Education for All Handicapped Children Act (EAHCA). The EAHCA required school districts to provide free and appropriate education to all of their students with disabilities(Dorn and Fuchs 1996). Each state was to ensure that students with disabilities received non-discriminatory testing, evaluation, and placement; the right to due process; education in the least restrictive environment; and a free and appropriate education in returning for federal funding. In 1990 the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA) was introduced. IDEA ensures a free appropriate public education (FAPE). This done by providing each child with an Individual Education Program(IEP). The IEP was designed to ensure that all students with disabilities received educational programs specific to their "unique" needs(IDEAData). Throughout history a number of efforts have been made to insure that children with learning disabilities are receiving the tools they need to learn. However, this has not combated the obvious link between the juvenile justice system and special education. This is the problem. I would like to take clearly expose predictors of delinquency in special education as well as provide information that can assist parents and teachers in assisting at risk students.
The main problem is that there is no actual number of offenders with documented, Learning Disabilities as well as Emotional Behavioral Disabilities. However, what is clear is many offenders have learning difficulties that reduce their ability to cope within an academic environment as well as the criminal justice system. A prime example of this is, not understanding fully what is happening to them in court or being unable to access various aspects of the prison regime, including some offending behavior programmers. Individuals with learning disabilities are at risk of continued offending because of unidentified needs and consequent lack of support and services(Luciano,Savage 2007). Recent prevalence research shows that twenty percent of the prison population has a hidden disability(Rack 2005). In the juvenile justice system twenty three percent of prisoners have an IQ of <70. Twenty to almost fifty percent of male prisoners have a specific learning disability(Disability Rights Commission 2005). Regardless of the number of offenders with Learning Disabilities as well as Emotional Behavioral Disabilities there is clearly a problem. All of the numbers listed above support the fact there is a serious problem among children as well as adults with learning disabilities. Children with learning disabilities are ultimately forced out of school. They are not asked to leave by the principal or other staff members, but are often rejected by peers, and victimized. These children may experience high levels of anxiety, loneliness, frustration, anger, sadness, or shame which can lead to psychological difficulties such as depression, or low self-esteem, as well as behavioral problems such as substance abuse or juvenile delinquency.
The focus of this Independent Learning Project is address how parents and teachers can prevent the victimization of students with learning disabilities as well as prevents students from dropping out of school.. Again, the exact numbers of juveniles in the criminal justice system with Learning Disabilities as well as Emotional Behavioral Disabilities vary, according prevalent research. There is no exact number and unfortunately depending upon who is producing the study, the outcome is always different. The one constant is that there are an increasing number of children in special education that are at risk for delinquency(Smith 2002). What is juvenile delinquency? According to Webster's dictionary, conduct by a juvenile characterized by antisocial behavior that is beyond parental control and therefore subject to legal action is juvenile delinquency. What are the causes of juvenile delinquency? The causes of are the same for children with as well as without learning disabilities. There are four crucial risk factors that promote juvenile delinquency. The risk factors are: individual, family, mental health and substance abuse(Wrightslaw).
I anticipate finding that children in special education are at higher risk than regular education students. I also anticipate finding that children with Learning Disabilities as well as Emotional Behavioral Disabilities, drop out of school at a much higher rate than children in regular education classes. I believe that me research will support that there is a high number of children in the juvenile justice system that have learning disabilities as well as adults. Although congress has passed laws to protect the rights of children with disabilities, schools continue disproportionately suspend children with disabilities. Parents and educators must learn the warning signs of learning disabilities as well as the basic facts about learning disabilities.
It is my goal to advocate for children with learning disabilities as well as emotional disabilities. I plan to provide strategies for teachers, parents and students that will combat delinquency risk factors. Ii is my desire to gain a full understanding of the causes of juvenile delinquency so that I can develop a tool to prevent special education students from engaging in harmful or illegal behavior. I also intend to expose the risk factors for parents, students, and teacher so that they are easy to identify. The earlier these risk factors are identified, the better of the child is. Parents and educators must take a proactive approach to preventing juvenile delinquency in special education. Children who participate in special education are less likely to graduate from high school. Children with emotional disabilities and learning disabilities drop out of school at a much higher rate than regular education students and are much likely to be arrested(Wightslaw.com)
How can educator and parents prevent children with special needs from becoming a part of the juvenile justice system?
What are Learning Disability
Children and adults who see, hear, and understand things differently because they have trouble processing sensory information have learning disabilities. A large number of parents and educators believe learning disabilities are a problem of intelligence. However learning disabilities cannot be coped with by trying harder, paying closer attention, or improving motivation in the home or in the classroom. A difference in the brain that affects how information is received, processed, or communicated is the cause of learning disabilities(IDEAdata.org). There two categories of learning disabilities, Information processing deficits and Specific learning disabilities. The most common types of learning disabilities are, Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, Dysgraphia, Dyspraxia (Sensory Integration Disorder), Auditory Processing Disorder, and Visual Processing Disorder. Students with learning disabilities represent forty five percent of students with disabilities nationwide. Dyslexia is a language-based disability in which a person has trouble understanding written words. Dyscalculia is a mathematical disability in which a person has a difficult time solving arithmetic problems and grasping math concepts(Banbury1980). Dysgraphia is a writing disability in which a person finds it hard to form letters or write within a defined space. Auditory and Visual Processing Disorders is a sensory disability in which a person has difficulty understanding language despite normal hearing and vision. It may also be referred to as reading disability or reading disorder. Nonverbal Learning Disabilities are neurological disorder which originates in the right hemisphere of the brain, causing problems with visual-spatial, intuitive, organizational, evaluative and holistic processing functions(LD Online 2008). These are the more prevalent disabilities faced by children in special education. Special education services are provided in schools to nearly three million students nation-wide who are diagnosed with Learning Disabilities. Children with learning disabilities can look and sound like any average or even above average child and still display difficulties in learning the same materials as children in the same grade. Learning disabilities can affect a child's ability to learn reading, writing, math, speaking, and even listening(IDEAdata.org). Although there is no cure for learning disabilities, there are coping skills that can be used to overcome the difficulties. The one thing that is clear is that learning disabilities are not caused by economic disadvantage, environmental factors, or cultural differences. However children that have learning disabilities face a hopeless future unless they are taught coping skills(Brown 2008). According to the National Institutes of Health, fifteen percent of the U.S. population, or one in seven Americans, have some type of learning disability.
Before a student can be classified as an individual with a Learning Disability and placed in appropriate special services he must meet one of five criteria. First, there must be an intrinsic neurological problem. Second, the student must manifest problems in learning that are unique for that child only. Third, there must be a discrepancy between the students's potential. Fourth, the student must not exhibit any exclusionary factors (e.g., the learning problem must not be the result of mental retardation, sensory problems, limited command of English, cultural differences, and emotional illness). Finally, the student must exhibit developmental and/or academic problems(IDEAData). If a student's learning difficulty can be explained by other factors not attributable to a developmental or academic problem, that student does not meet the criteria for special education. To be LD, students must have an IQ that is average or above, and show a discrepancy between their academic potential and their achievement A learning disability is not equated with slow learning. True learning disabilities are not transient, and cannot always be remediated(Brown 2008).
Emotional Behavioral Disturbance (EBD)
The term "emotional disturbance" (ED), was changed to "emotional behavioral disability, (EBD) effective July 1, 2001. In order for a student to be identified as EBD there are 4 key concepts to be addressed: (1) the student exhibits social, emotional or behavioral functioning that so departs from generally accepted, age appropriate ethnic or cultural norms that it adversely affects a child's academic progress, social relationships, personal adjustment, classroom adjustment, self-care or vocational skills; (2) the behaviors are severe, chronic, and frequent, occur at school and at least 1 other setting, and the student exhibits at least 1 of 8 characteristics or patterns of behavior indicative of EBD; (3) the IEP team used a variety of sources of information including observations and has reviewed prior, documented interventions; and, (4) the IEP team did not identify or refuse to identify a student as EBD solely on the basis of another disability, social maladjustment, adjudicated delinquency, dropout, chemically dependency, cultural deprivation, familial instability, suspected child abuse, socio-economic circumstances, or medical or psychiatric diagnostic statements( Focht-New, G 2008). Emotional disturbance refers to a number of different, but related, social-emotional disabilities. Individuals classified as emotionally disturbed meet several criteria established under IDEA, including the following. An inability to exhibit appropriate behavior under ordinary circumstances, an inability to maintain relationships with peers or teachers, an inappropriate affect such as depression or anxiety, and an inappropriate manifestation of physical symptoms or fears in response to school or personal difficulties(Focht-New, G 2008). These characteristics must be manifested over an extended time period and have a negative effect on school performance (U.S. Department of Education, 2002a).
Individuals classified as emotionally disturbed represent a range of severity, and the disability itself may be temporary or permanent. Specific emotional disturbance areas include childhood schizophrenia; selective mutes (failure to speak in selected circumstances); These characteristics must be manifested over an extended time period and have a negative effect on school performance (U.S. Department of Education, 2002a). Individuals classified as emotionally disturbed represent a range of severity, and the disability itself may be temporary or permanent. Specific emotional disturbance areas include childhood schizophrenia; selective mutism (failure to speak in selected circumstances); seriously aggressive or acting-out behavior; conduct disorders; inappropriate affective disorders such as depression, social withdrawal, psychosomatic disorders, anxiety disorders, self-mutilating behaviors; and excessive fears (or phobias(Kauffman, 2005). Individuals with emotional disabilities are difficult to objectively identify and classify. The term Emotional-Behavioral Disability (EBD) is the same as Seriously Emotionally Disturbed (SED) which is the label used and defined in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
According to Foundation for Children With Learning Disabilities, forty percent of juveniles who appear in Family Court have learning disabilities. The majority are age 7 to 17, and have failed in school or have dropped out and have engaged in antisocial and criminal behavior, from robbery to drug dealing to murder(Wagner 1991). People who are learning disabled have difficulty processing and understanding spoken, written or visual information. In most cases, educators and psychologists say, those people are of average or above average intelligence with a severe neurological handicap that affects perceptions. They may write backwards, reverse words when reading or be unable to tell time. They may also have problems getting along with others. People who are learning disabled have difficulty processing and understanding spoken, written or visual information. In most cases, educators and psychologists say, those people are of average or above average intelligence with a severe neurological handicap that affects perceptions. They may write backwards, reverse words when reading or be unable to tell time. They may also have problems getting along with others(Keith and McCray 2002). There is no cure for learning disabilities and no one fully understands their causes. Recent studies show, that if a child is reached at an early age, he can learn to function adequately and be successful. Juvenile delinquency or criminal behavior is not caused by learning disabilities, educators, criminologists and psychologist's caution. Rather, children with undiagnosed or untreated disabilities are more likely to get into trouble because they are unskilled, suffer from low self-esteem and can be easily swayed by others(Wagner 1991). Individuals with learning disabilities are really in a hopeless position as far as the criminal justice system is concerned. School is important to the emotional development and self-esteem of children. Dunham and Albert observed that "It is the school that dispenses the skills prized in contemporary society, provides the major arena in which the young can demonstrate competence, and functions as the major arena in which youth gain status." The school environment can be a factor in delinquent behavior. Figueire-McDonough Stated that "in an environment where academic success is defined as an exclusive goal, inept students will more acutely feel their lack of success and therefore search for alternative careers. Often this career may be in the area of criminal activity.
Adolescents generally want to belong to a group, some students with learning disabilities may feel left out at school. This lack of acceptance by academically skilled students may encourage children with learning disabilities to join street gangs(Peck 1985). Leaders of such gangs accept these youth because they frequently want them to sell their drugs and engage in other illegal acts. Acceptance is important to children who fell left out or alienated. These youths will do almost anything to be part of a group. A large part of the time these groups end up being gangs. A number of prison throughout the United States, have participated in studies that are designed to establish the link between special education and delinquency(Hill & Cook, 1990). It is unfortunate that the number of student with learning disabilities that are currently incarcerated are growing daily. According to the Juvenile Justice Department, nearly half of the inmates incarcerated have a learning disability. Students who have learning disabilities are not treated fairly by the school system nor the judicial system. Many of the professionals that are responsible for educating and supervising these students are ignorant. They are ignorant to the plan truths that the students face. Students who have learning disabilities may be unable to read on the same level as their peers or even communicate on the same level as their peers. The issue is that students with learning disabilities are currently in custody where they receive little or no remediation or accommodation for their various disabilities(US Department of Education). Worst is the fact that public schools have no prevention program or intervention plan in place to prevent students with learning disabilities from quitting school or engaging in crime. Federal law ensures that American children up to the age of 21 a free and appropriate education. It calls on school districts to conduct a systematic screening by qualified professionals to determine which children require special education(Us Department of Education). Children who are identified as possible candidates participate in a case study evaluation, after which, special education personnel will prepare an individual education plan (IEP). In general this law requires the school to address the child's problems - not the parent. Passing a law does not make it so. The law does guarantee a free appropriate education, nevertheless many school systems fail to provide the services needed for students with learning disabilities. Public systems are not alone. The juvenile justice system is also failing to provide much needed services to incarcerated students who have learning disabilities as well emotional disabilities(Evelo, Sinclair, Hurley, Christenson, and Thurlow). Students who have problems coping with the negative effects of their disability my become targets of their teachers or probation officers. An uninformed educator can do more harm that help. The educator or teacher must be an advocate for the student. Children with special need receive harsher punishments from the juvenile justice system than other children. Judges have went as far as to use a child grades to determine their punishment. When a child has a learning disability, academic success may be a problem. Therefore, judges must be well informed when dealing with a child with learning disabilities. There is little systematic research regarding the specific factors that may serve to protect or inhibit children with LD or EBD from engaging in delinquent behavior. Therefore, caution needs to be exercised in making any recommendations regarding strategies to prevent juvenile delinquency. Most juvenile court judges are advocates for children with disabilities but they can't fulfill this role if they don't have relevant information about the child and the case(Brown 2010). Adults need to ensure that the judge has the necessary information. If the child was represented by an attorney, it's the attorney's job to get this information before the judge. When a child with a disability is arrested for school-related behavior, this is an excellent opportunity to use the power of the juvenile court to force the school district to implement a good plan for the child - and have the Court monitor the school's progress. Parents must hold the school and the judicial system accountable(Morgan 2009).
Negative effect of Uninformed Parents and Educators
A parent of a child with a learning disability must be well informed. An uninformed parent can have devastating effects on the education of a child as well as the future of the child. Parents must learn to identify the early signs of learning disabilities and emotional disturbed. Learning Disability students usually experiences difficulty only in performing certain academic and developmental tasks and often experience few problems outside the school environment. The learning disabled can experience considerable pain and social stigma because they are often harassed and denigrated by peers who are not learning disabled(Raskind). This negative environment can discourage many Learning Disability students from attending school, and it may also explain why most LD students fail (Raskind). Learning Disability students will experience little success both in and out of the regular classroom unless teachers help them develop a good self-concept - which is based on comparison with others.
Children with learning disabilities must learn how to achieve academic success as well as social success. The fact is that the large majorities of adults with learning disabilities are underemployed and are arrested more often than others in society(Brown, Riley, Walrath, Leaf, & Valdez 2008). It is unfortunate that children who participate in special education are less likely to graduate from high school. Children with emotional disabilities and learning disabilities drop out of school at a much higher rate than regular education students and are much more likely to be arrested (Wightslaw.com). These children are often humiliated, embarrassed and frustrated in the class room when their needs are not met. For some children the humiliation is too much to bear. These children sit in the back of classrooms with their head and hands down. They are often asked question that they will never know the answer too. When the child consistently fails test and turns in incomplete homework assignments, he or she becomes labeled dumb or lazy(Focht-New, Clements, Barol, Faulkner 2008). Child who receives special education services can have negative emotional effects. Persistent learning failure leads to anguish, embarrassment and frustration. According to the Meadowbrook Educational Services and results from a study in the U.S.A. by the National Center for State Courts demonstrated that youths with LD were 200 percent more likely to be arrested than nondisabled peers for comparable offences. According to the U.S. Department of Education 60 percent of America's prison inmates are illiterate and 85 percent of all juvenile offenders have reading problems(Meadowbrook 2009). The end result for children with learning disabilities can be heartbreaking for parents and educators alike. However, the frustration of academic failure can cause them hate school, act-out in class, and even skip school. Children who experience academic failure may begin cheating, stealing or experimenting with drugs.(Meadowbrook 2009). The end result for children with learning disabilities if their needs are not met is children prison. In some cases children with learning disabilities may find services to assist them as an adult, but if their unable to read, services won't help.
To determine if there was a link between special education and the juvenile justice system I contact three local schools. Surveys where filled out and the information was assessed. I also developed a survey to be completed by special education students. It is my goal to advocate for children with Learning Disabilities as well as Emotional Behavioral Disabilities. I plan to provide strategies for teachers, parents and students that will promote combat delinquency risk factors. It is my desire to gain a full understanding of the causes of juvenile delinquency so that I can develop a tool to prevent special education students from engaging in harmful or illegal behavior. I also intend to expose the risk factors for parents, students, and teacher so that they are easy to identify. The earlier these risk factors are identified, the better of the child is. Parents and educators must take a proactive approach to preventing juvenile delinquency in special education. Children who participate in special education are less likely to graduate from high school. Children with emotional disabilities and learning disabilities drop out of school at a much higher rate than regular education students and are much likely to be arrested (Wightslaw.com). I will look at the present problems children with learning disabilities face that promote delinquency. Questionnaires will be mailed to a private institution, Light House Care Center. Light House Care Center House 106 children as well provide educational assistance. The Light House Care Center has a fully accredited school on its campus. The questionnaire will provide current number of students with learning disabilities that are in custody compared to last year.
I would like to establish a guide for an after school program that can assist in the prevention of delinquency. This project is intended to inform parents, educators and students of the risk factors of delinquency, the rate of recidivism for juveniles, and the negative effects of dropping out of school.
IV. COVER LETTER
January 24, 2010
3100 Lighthouse Care Center
Augusta, Georgia 30909
Attn: Mrs. Avis Cheetham
RE: Research Proposal
Hello, my name is Renika Cooper and I am conducting a research project concerning the link between children with learning disabilities and juvenile delinquency. This research is being conducted to assist educator, parents, and criminal justice professionals in preventing children with learning disabilities from becoming offenders. I would appreciate your assistance in my data collection and am requesting all data concerning the number of students currently enrolled in special education as well as the number of special education students from the previous year. I have also enclosed for your convenience a copy of the questionnaire which discusses what information is needed and the format for such information. Also enclosed for your convenience is a self-addressed envelope.
If you have any questions, please contact me at 706-627-3413 the phone number provided on this letterhead or via my email address. Thanking you in advance for your cooperation in this very important research project.
The Link between Special Education
and the Department of Juvenile Justice System
This questionnaire is designed to obtain the most accurate response concerning the link between special education and the juvenile justice system. Please take a moment and fill out the following. Thank you.
INSTRUCTIONS: Please circle the most appropriate response to each question.
What is the age group of the children in Light house care center?
10-15 b. 12-16 c. 13-18
How many students are currently enrolled in the special education program? __________
How many students were enrolled in the special education program in 2008-2009? ___________
How many students were enrolled in the special education program in 2009? ___________
How many special education students were suspended more than once during the 2008-2009 school year?
0-5 b. 5-10 c. 10 or more
How many times during 2008-2009 school year did the police have to be called for special education students?
a. 0-10 b. 10-20 c. 20 or more times
7. How many special education students were removed from the facility as a result of committing a crime during the 2008-2009 school years?
a. 0-10 b. 10-20 c. None
8. How many students in the special education program have learning disabilities?
a. 0-10 b. 10-20 c. 20 or more
9. How many students in the special education program have emotional disabilities?
a. 0-10 b. 10-20 c. 20 or more
10. Is an educational assessment executed during the intake process?
a. yes b. no
10. Are you able to meet the needs of students in special education?
a. yes b. no
11. How many special education teachers do you currently have on staff?
a. none b. 1-3 c. 3-5
12. Do you believe you have enough special education professional employed currently? a. yes b. no
13. What information accompanying people into the facility identify their learning disabilities prior to their arrival?
a. yes b. no
The data collected is from a local Richmond County Schools. All schools are fully accredited school.
The Link between Special Education
and the Department of Juvenile Justice System
Have you experience any negative reactions from peers or families members as a result of your participation in the Special Education Program? __________________________________________________________________
Are your teachers supportive and well aware of your special needs and or accommodations or modifications? __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Do you enjoy going to school? _____________________________________________________________________
What do you improve upon in the Special Education program? __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Are you receiving the help you need to be successful in school? __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Do you want to quit School? __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Will you graduate from high school? __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Have you ever been suspended from school? __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Have you had to appear in court for any reason? __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
How many times have you been to court for committing a crime in or out of school? __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
The problem that was discovered was that many teachers are not trained to identify signs of Learning Disabilities or Emotional Behavioral Disabilities. All teachers must be trained to recognize the signs of Learning Disabilities and Emotional Behavioral Disabilities. This should not be the chore of the special education teacher or department. All teachers regardless of the concentration they teach should be able to identify the signs of a child with Learning Disabilities or Emotional Behavioral Disabilities. This will promote early diagnoses and treatment for students with special needs(Karande and Kalkarni2008). The results of the both questionnaires we lead one to believe that there is a connection between special education and the criminal justice system as a result of preparation in school. Children with special needs in many cases are left unchecked. In some cases these students who need services are not receiving them. Parents are sometimes the problem, because they do not want to accept that their child has a Learning Disability. Parents can do more harm than help when this occurs. The child's problems do not cease to exist because the parent is unwilling to accept them. As a result the child is left in a regular education setting and is unable to cope. When the child consistently fails on assignments in class, it result in ridicule from peers and in some cases the teacher. Poor performance in school causes children to have low-self esteem and also cause a great deal of stress for parents(Karande and Kalkarni2008). Parents may try to help the child by punishing or scolding the child, however this type of response does not work. They only thing that has been proven to work is diagnoses of a problem, patience and understanding. Children who do not receive the love and support that they need to succeed in school will find themselves in trouble. These individual unfortunately do tend to hate attending school because they do not do well and eventually stop attending. What happens to a dop-out student? Children who quit school face many more problems than those who graduate. The main problem a drop-out faces is employment. It is becoming increasingly difficult to gain employment without a high school diploma or equivalent. Again, as educators we must be trained to identify the risk factors of dropping out. Children with Learning disabilities drop out at a much higher rate than regular education students(Blackorby & Wagner, 1996). Students who drop out generally experience negative outcomes unemployment, underemployment, and incarceration. School dropouts report unemployment rates as high as forty percent higher than youth who have completed school. Arrest rates are just as high for youth with disabilities who drop out of school. The arrest rate for students with emotional/behavioral disabilities is seventy three percent and sixty three percent for students with learning disabilities. More than eighty percent of individuals incarcerated are high school dropouts (Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, 1995).
What we know
Although a clear causal link between students with Learning Disabilities and Emotional Behavioral Disabilities and juvenile delinquency has not been scientifically validated, several theories have been offered. Several experts have suggested that school failure resulting from a student having Disabilities leads to criticism, rejection, poor self-image, school dropout, and ultimately delinquency(Tappan 2009). It appears that that adolescents with engage in the same Learning Disabilities and Emotional Behavioral Disabilities kind of delinquent behavior, and at the same rate as non-disabled peers, but that police, social workers and other professionals treat them differently and may be more likely to arrest them and find them legally responsible for having broken the law(Raskin 2009). In conclusion, although research suggests a connection between Learning Disabilities and Emotional Behavioral Disabilities and delinquency, we need not view delinquency as an inevitable outcome. Research has yet to establish a clear causal link between the two. Although, we also know that many other factors beyond Learning Disabilities and Emotional Behavioral Disabilities can contribute to delinquency. While recognizing the limitations of current research, we nonetheless need be aware that the presence of Learning Disabilities and Emotional Behavioral Disabilities might possibly place children at greater risk for juvenile delinquency. Consequently, teachers and parents must keep their eyes open for any behaviors that might serve as "warning signs" of potential delinquency(Zhang 2007). In my research I have discovered that in many cases a student did display some risk factors for delinquency. When a teacher is trained to identify this risk factor, they are able to intervene accordingly. Intervention is the key to promoting the success of all students with Learning Disabilities and Emotional Behavioral Disabilities.
Implications and Recommendation
The implication of the findings in this project shows that there is a definite link among children with Learning Disabilities and Emotional Behavioral Disabilities and the judicial system. The link is so evident to some researchers that it has been called a pipe line from the school to prison. This is a frightening finding and must be addressed on all levels. Educators, parents and law-makers will have to partner to win this fight. In order to combat the problems that children with Learning Disabilities and Emotional Behavioral Disabilities face, school systems must have a plan in place. Early signal of a student who may drop out can be as simple as identifying the child's level of engagement in school. According to Christenson, there are four types of engagement and associated indicators. Academic engaged time, or credit accrual, Behavioral engagement includes attendance, suspension, and class participation, Cognitive engagement refers to internal indicators including processing academic information or becoming a self-regulated learner and Psychological engagement includes identification with school and sense of belonging. These indicators of engagement are influenced by a number of things. For example, contextual factors across the home, school, and peers affect engagement. A focus on facilitators of engagement is a promising approach to guiding the development of effective interventions promoting school completion(Christen 2002). Once a teacher identifies a student who is at risk for dropping out, what happens next? Identifying the student is not enough. Once a student is identified as an at risk student a plan must be put into place. According to the 23rd Report to Congress, only fifty seven percent of youth with disabilities graduated with regular diplomas during a given school year(U.S. Department of Education). In order to prevent students with special needs from becoming a part of the juvenile justice system or worse the correctional system, a strategy must be put into place. Effective strategies must also be put in place to detour school dropout and prevent students from engaging in criminal activities in their free time. Schools can easily prevent school dropout by providing services addressing students' academic, social, emotional, and occupational needs. By instituting a program that includes c academic, life-coping skills, occupational, guidance and counseling, schools would be able to significantly decrease their dropout rate(Kvarfordt 2005). Keeping students in school would also decrease the rate at which they are arrested. The majority of juvenile offenders and adults that drop out of school is alarmingly high. These individual quit school with little to no life skills or education. As a result they are prone to crime as a survival skill. Those who cannot obtain employment to provide for themselves must find another way. Usually their way out involves criminal activity.
The Guide I believe that it is important to find a way to decrease the incarceration rate of juveniles. It is equally important to find successful ways to retain students with Learning Disabilities and Emotional Behavior Disability in school. Again the dropout rate of students in special education is significantly higher than students in regular education. Teachers as well as parents need a tool to assist in promoting the academic success of students with learning disabilities. I have created a guide that will help teachers and parents identify the risk factors of a dropout. The guide also contains strategies to identifying students at risk for delinquency.
The guide includes strategies that schools and parents can use to not only improve poor academic performance but also help students live up to their full potential. I have included indicators and risk factors that promote dropping out so that teachers will be able to identify them and act. My goal is to help parents and teachers to advocate as well as educate students with needs. I would also like to encourage parent to take an active role in their child's education. Teachers cannot educate your child without your support and participation. It is my hope that this guide will motivate parents and teachers to partner. The problems that children with special need face will require the teacher and parent to work together if the child is to succeed.
Finally, children spend more time with their teacher than they may spend with anyone else, outside of their parents. Therefore, teachers must be trained to recognizes the risk factors of dropping out as well as delinquency. They are the second line defense for parents. If by chance a parent is not aware that their child is in trouble, it should be the teacher goal to keep the parent informed of any negative changes. I would like to provide a tool to assist teachers and parents in the home.