EMERGING ISSUE 1
Traditionally, there has existed a separate education system for students with special needs. The rationale for this segregation is a misconception based on the intellectual and physical characteristics that differentiate students with special needs from their counterparts in mainstream schools. However, things are about to change as one of the emerging issues in the special education sector is the classroom integration. While the rationale is not to have students with special needs sit alongside their counterparts in classes, there are measures being put in place to ensure that the two groups spend a few hours together everyday. Gupta, et al., (2014) reports that according to the U.S Department of Education records, in 2011, 44.5% of students with and without disabilities aged 3-5 years old spent at least 80 percent of their school time together. According to Huei (2009), the rationale for using a different curriculum and learning environment for students with disabilities was to enhance their self-esteem as well as to ensure a sense of security for them. In my opinion, segregating individuals with disabilities is detrimental as they are expected to mingle with their counterparts in the job settings. As such, schools should adopt an inclusion policy to help children with special needs acquire positive social-emotional skills and learn appropriate behaviors of meeting their needs. At the same time, the inclusion can help children with special needs to improve their communication and literacy skills.
The other emerging issue is the LAMP, which denotes Language Acquisition through Motor Planning. LAMP is a strategy aimed at connecting a student’s neurological and motor learning in a manner that improves communication (Lynch, 2013). Approximately 30-50 % of individuals living with Autism Spectrum Disorder make no use of functional speech (Autism Spectrum Australia, 2013). A study that involved the implementation of a five-weeks LAMP project resulted in the participants improving in expressive communication. Autism Spectrum Australia (2013) reports that four of eight students who took part in the five-week LAMP project went from the pre-intentional stage of communication to the symbolic and intentional stage. The program also helped the participants who were already using the intentional and symbolic communication. Autism Spectrum Australia (2013) reports that before the study, 87% of the participants used communication to protest while 62% were using physical behavior to seek attention, farewell, and greet. Upon the successful implementation of the LAMP project, 100% of the participants showed signs of developing social-communication skills while 75% used communication to express feelings and gain attention (Autism Spectrum Australia, 2013). In my opinion, schools should adopt the LAMP program. The study conducted by Autism Spectrum Australia demonstrated that LAMP can improve the use of expressive communication by students with special needs as well as help them increase their vocabulary.
Autism Spectrum Australia. (2013). Evaluation of the Language Acquisition through Motor Planning(LAMP) program with children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Aspect Research Insights (6).
Gupta, S. S., Henninger, W. R., & Vinh, M. E. (2014). First Steps To Preschool Inclusion: How To Jumpstart Your Wide Program Plan. Accessed on July 16, 2016. http://archive.brookespublishing.com/documents/gupta-how-children-benefit-from-inclusion.pdf
Huei, L.W. (2009). Should All with Special Educational Needs (SEN) Be Included in Mainstream Education Provision? A Critical Analysis. International Education Studies, 2(4).
Lynch, M. (2013). “Current trends in special education.” Accessed on July 16, 2016. http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/education_futures/2013/10/current_trends_in_special_education.html