Students With Moderate To Severe Disabilities Education Essay

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This chapter is entitled the elementary classroom and it tackles the methodology of adapting the general education curriculum and classroom not only to accommodate the student's IEP objectives, but also to identify other, usually non-IPE objectives, teaching outcomes based on the lessons for the general education students. To achieve their objectives, the authors identify four areas of importance and thus divide the chapter accordingly to contain them (Hamill & Everington, 2002, p. 242).

Adapting the Standard Curricula of the General Classroom

The authors maintain that adaption should focus on functionality, not developmental. Here, three areas are chosen starting with instructional strategies. It is important to simplify instructions by avoiding the unnecessary details, using simpler words or even pictures. Moreover, emphasizing key words enables students to interpret and remember the concepts. The multisensory approach such as tactile and auditory cues enhances student's understanding. In addition, using tape-recorders improves the independence of a student who is slow in understanding. When structuring the lesson, a clear demarcation should be made between the beginning and the end of a child's work. Besides, summary notes/outlines of the lesson should be issued to students (Hamill & Everington, 2002, p. 245).

Materials used in lessons can be easily manipulated to greatly increase understanding and retention of the concept. The authors consider picture use as instrumental in the organization of relevant points and comprehension during learning. Secondly, the use of cue cards as remainders of classroom rules and also for vocabulary development is emphasized. It is advisable to use enlarged print and color coding to focus the student's attention to important areas of learning. To aid students in the construction of meaning, the usage of manipulatives like Magnetic Poetry is highlighted (Hamill & Everington, 2002, p. 247).

Permanent model of the finished product should also be incorporated for quicker understanding and minimal assistance. Lastly, learning boxes/centers supplements class content especially for students whose understanding is low. According to the authors, its portability and substitute for homework make it valuable (Hamill & Everington, 2002, p. 248).

Students who may not complete the lesson even with the above adaptations require alternative responses. By reducing response requirement in smaller units, slow students participate successfully in the lesson. Similarly, oral/taped presentations can be used instead of written assignments. Science, social studies and language art can be demonstrated in pictures and artwork to enhance easier understanding of the material. Use of computers as an alternative mode, say like typing their names if they cannot do the assigned activities, can be adopted. Finally, students who are weak in math can be allowed to use calculators to sharpen their understanding (Hamill & Everington, 2002, p. 250).

Altering the Content

In the event where a student cannot successfully participated in the standard curriculum even after the above modifications, it is imperative to alter the content of the said curriculum. Two approaches are involved: identifying alternative related goals for such students and changing the content for all students to be more applicable and meaningful (Hamill & Everington, 2002, p. 250).

The authors emphasize that related skills be identified "in the content area, thus enabling students to progress at their own rate…with others" (Hamill & Everington, 2002, p. 251). In implementing this adaptation, reference should be made to the student's level of functioning. The appropriate material for a student's academic level makes him/her to finish the work easily and independently with good understanding. Parallel assignment is given as an example of this adaptation. Furthermore, the concept of leveled instruction can be used facilitate participation in class discussions, for example selecting students by asking questions differing in difficulties for special discussions (Hamill & Everington, 2002, p. 251).

Secondly, the authors argue that the usage of applied content creates a greater access to general education for disabled students. One way is through the use of personal experiences; teaching an applied curriculum as an overarching approach to instruction; through games like bingo and cards; and finally by developing worksheets of academics using real life activities (Hamill & Everington, 2002, p. 251).

Curriculum Overlapping

The independent living skills are identifiable in the areas highlighted, according to the authors, as well as being inherent on the student's IEP. In self-care skills, a student is to develop grooming, dressing, hygiene or eating styles. They argue that career education also helps students to develop skills that will enable them to independently function in work environments. Thirdly, in language/communication area, the skill "should be embedded throughout the student's entire day" (Hamill & Everington, 2002, p. 257). Lastly, social skills especially in starting and maintaining conversation, greetings et cetera, are considered by the authors (Hamill & Everington, 2002, p. 258).

Peer Supports for Independent Functioning

The authors realize the difficulties faced by disabled students in the general education classroom system and enlist the support of peers in that effect. Relationships of friendship must be enhanced. Circle of friendship is one such programs facilitating relationships. It is "designed to help build a social support community for a student with disabilities" (Hamill & Everington, 2002, p. 260). In the interior of the circle is the family, followed by best friends, then casual friends, then others. Another approach is through peer buddies where a small number of students volunteer as friends to provide support in varied ways (Hamill & Everington, 2002, p. 262).


This chapter deals with the education of students with disabilities in secondary level. Section one describes adaptations and modifications supporting student learning of the typical curriculum in general education. Second section provides strategies for developing higher independence using instructions in daily living skills in secondary education academic settings. Lastly, section three provides strategies for facilitating peer support to promote access to academic content in secondary education and at the same time sharpen their interpersonal skills (Hamill & Everington, 2002, p. 267).

Determining the Need for Adaptations

The authors decry the implementation of the previous adaptations regardless of similarity. Accordingly, there is need to consider age appropriateness and the structure of secondary education classroom setting, not to mention the complexity of the material and high academic expectations. Therefore, in designing instructions individualized adaptations should be incorporated in lesson plans (Hamill & Everington, 2002, p. 271).

The authors advise that instructional adaptation should be modified by different strategies such as tape-recorders, auditory/tactile cues or structuring the lesson. Test directions/questions can be given orally not written, in simple language. Another strategy is the use of the cognitive credit card. This card "contains an individualized list of the steps the student needs to take to complete a learning task successfully" (Hamill & Everington, 2002, p. 273)

Finally, the use of instructional scaffolds such as summary notes, outlines or tape-recordings, is underscored. Videotaping comes in handy since it allows the content to be reviewed by the student as well as encouraging family involvement (Hamill & Everington, 2002, p. 273).

On material adaptations, the authors argue that similar materials used in elementary level such as enlarging print, color coding or cue cards, can still be used in secondary level. But, the actual product may seem inappropriate in secondary setting, for example color-coding. They recommend the use of manipulatives and models, locally or commercially made. Lastly, learning centers are highlighted as helpful in helping students to improve their self-discipline and follow directions (Hamill & Everington, 2002, p. 276).

Regarding response requirements adaptations, reduced requirements applicable in elementary level are recommended. Use of pictures and artwork should be modified to appeal to the adolescents. Students with difficulties in writing should dictate their written works to peers. Computer and calculator use should be encouraged to aid students I successful learning. Finally, students should be encouraged to present their assignments in different modes (Hamill & Everington, 2002, p. 277).

Content modifications, the authors argue, should focus on teaching parallel skills; using leveled assignments; and ensuring that the content is meaningful and applicable. Teacher-made games should also be used to teach applied content as well as incorporating it into everyday experiences. Lastly, the applied content should be incorporated into small group activities to ensure understanding (Hamill & Everington, 2002, p. 284).

Addressing Independent Living Skills in the General Education Classroom

Students require some skills to manage their personal needs. The self-care skills mentioned in elementary level such as eating and groom still apply. In addition, girls need attention regarding menstruation; pregnancy, sexual responsibility and sexually transmitted diseases should be applicable to both (Hamill & Everington, 2002, p. 288).

The authors say that career education should utilize applied content in academic course work with emphasis on everyday life and occupational skills. This is vital since the students connect to the skills required in the job market upon maturity (Hamill & Everington, 2002, p. 288). The authors point at the challenge of language/communication and therefore advise the teacher to design strategies that are sophisticated to enable students with difficulties in communication to learn. Student's present skill should be used as starting point to developing new methods of communicating (Hamill & Everington, 2002, p. 289).

The social skills, according to the authors, should inculcate a sense of personal responsibility in academic work and interpersonal behavior. The use of cooperative leaning groups enhances effective communication across the board (Hamill & Everington, 2002, p. 289).

Peer Supports for Independent Functioning

According to the author, disabled students are complicated and challenging to handle at the secondary level. For this reason, different approaches are used when providing natural support for them.

The provision of classroom support by students to both teachers and students is important. It is instrumental in the assistance of some students in the same class who may find difficulties in understanding course concepts or class activities. Such students can be assigned the role of peer tutors to help individuals or small groups of students. Indeed, students who did well in the past, in a particular course become good tutors. Similarly, "students with disabilities also can act as student aides…be assigned tasks" (Hamill & Everington, 2002, p. 291).The authors recall the previously used circle of friends and find it applicable at this level too. Here, they can be trained to act as conversation colleague to assist their classmates in learning skills as well as enlarging the classmate's social arena (Hamill & Everington, 2002, p. 291).

Finally, the authors conclude by hailing peer buddies as of invaluable support to their disabled friend(s). They show it through helping with note taking, reviewing class notes together, being a special friend by hanging out together, et cetera (Hamill & Everington, 2002, p. 292).


This chapter demonstrates how the larger school setting provide appropriate learning environment. The first section describes ways to create community in the elementary school through various activities, as well as vocational education. Section two explains two entrepreneurial efforts used by elementary students. The last section addresses student interactions in non-academic settings, together with extracurricular activities.

Creating Community in the School

The authors say that community building equips all students with practical experiences in citizenship. This is done in different ways. To begin with, organizing voting in a mock election enables students to learn civil responsibility and how to assert themselves in the community by learning government elections (Hamill & Everington, 2002, p. 297). The authors identify caring for the school environment as away of creating a sense of community in an elementary school. It is also a way of teaching children to care for their environment. Furthermore, activities such as preparation and sharing of a harvest meal should be encouraged. This process can be part of integrated language arts, social studies et cetera, and the connection with general education academic classes should be made clearer (Hamill & Everington, 2002, p. 301).Teaching disability awareness should be taught in schools especially through the health/science curriculum. The reason for this is to make students knowledgeable about the effects of specific disabilities and possible supports and accommodations (Hamill & Everington, 2002, p. 301).

Vocational Education

Regarding vocational education, the authors devise three kinds of activities that assign students responsibilities and teach them crucial general work skills. First, in career education students learn about different workers and kinds of jobs performed through going on field trips into the local community, reading stories about great contributors in their community (Hamill & Everington, 2002, p. 304). Secondly, the authors explain that when school activities are connected to work projects, students learn to appreciate the value of good work habits which will make them participate effectively in their future employment (Hamill & Everington, 2002, p. 304). Lastly, the authors identify work-study programs as essential constituent of vocational education. At elementary school level, a simplified form of the program can create schoolwide applied activities (Hamill & Everington, 2002, p. 305).

Inclusive Schoolwide Applied Curriculum Projects

According to the authors, this kind of project requires student's participation in all areas of business. Two projects are proposed for illustration purposes.

The Kids' Kitchen

This project is aimed at providing an applied curriculum for students to learn work habits; social and academic skills. The program operates bimonthly. For example, the authors use the bimonthly bakery activities to show how the project addresses a range of daily living skills "such as cooking, cleaning or personal management tasks and dealing with interpersonal skills including collaborating with peers and taking direction from a supervisor" (Hamill & Everington, 2002, p. 307). Moreover, all students work together, share responsibilities and support each other.

All student employees, the authors argue, practice general employability skills such as interacting with co-workers, being punctual and assigned duties. Among the assigned duties are: preparation of bakery items, record keeping and other after-hour activities. To surmise, work evaluation should be done before any payment is made (Hamill & Everington, 2002, p. 311). Kids' Kitchen experience, the authors say, provides the participants with vocational skills and consistent work habits; therefore is connected with general education academic classes. Peer support is also amplified (Hamill & Everington, 2002, p. 311).

The "Super Stuff" Supplies Cart

This is another example of a schoolwide project that employs applied curriculum run by students. Although its operation and that of Kids' Kitchen are different, the objectives are the same as discussed above. However, in specific cases, The "Super Stuff" is helpful to students in solving math related problems (Hamill & Everington, 2002, p. 313).

Informal Interactions and Non-Academic School Activities

The authors begin with identifying non-academic school settings that aid teaching daily living skills through socialization as the restroom, the playground, the school bus and the cafeteria. Secondly, they enumerate extracurricular activities at the school. These activities are either school-sponsored or community-sponsored. Most of these activities "connect to the academic curriculum, such as school plays and student exhibitions"(Hamill & Everington, 2002, p. 315). School-sponsored extracurricular activities in elementary schools are of different kinds. Examples may include plays, concerts, band and chorus, art exhibitions, et cetera. The experiences not only permit students to participate in school life, but also allow them to develop a sense of self-worth and value to others (Hamill & Everington, 2002, p. 315).

Community-sponsored organizations incorporate students of elementary schools in their activities. They include Cub and Boy Scouts, Brownies and Girl Scouts, Royal Rangers, among others. Sporting events, for example, provide students with the opportunity to develop both physical and social skills. Moreover, most of these activities "are structured in a way that allows students with disabilities to receive assistance through natural support that are already in place (Hamill & Everington, 2002, p. 316).