Topic Submission for Final Research Paper

Throughout this course, we learned about exceptional learners and how to best provide an inclusive
classroom experience that embraces ALL learners. As an early childhood educator, you will be
expected to meet the daily challenges of educating and caring for children with diverse needs. Your
final research paper will provide an opportunity for you to apply all of your personal and professional
experiences and new learning in educating exceptional learners, birth to age 8.
Unit 2 – Selected Topic – Due Sunday of Unit 2 at 11:59 p.m. (5 points).
Select a specific disability or disorder. Some possible topics for your research paper are
Autism, Learning Disabilities, Emotional Disturbance, Speech and Language Impaired,
Hearing Impaired, Visually Impaired, Orthopedic Impaired, ADHD, Dyslexia, Intellectual
Disabilities, Down Syndrome, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, Selective Mutism, and Separation
Anxiety Disorder.
After your weekly reading, especially Chapter 5 in the textbook, submit one topic you would
like to explore in-depth for your final research paper.
Unit 3 – List of Resources – Due Sunday of Unit 3 at 11:59 p.m. (15 Points).
Begin researching your approved topic of choice for this assignment. Submit a list of at least
three (3) scholarly resources that you will use in your project. Include a brief summary
(annotation) for each resource that you include. Be sure to concisely summarize the key
relevant points of each source and how the sources are relevant to your topic.
Unit 7 – Final Paper Submission Due Sunday of Unit 7 at 11:59 p.m. (100 points)
Content and Format: Your research-informed, written paper must include the following:
A. Etiology of the Disability or Disorder 4c
1. Define your selected disability.
2. Describe the causes or theory of your selected disability.
CHS 208 Teaching Exceptional Learners
Unit 7 Assignment Final Research Paper3. Identify the type(s) of assessment(s) used for meeting eligibility criteria for your selected
B. Educational Implications
1. Define and describe the learning and developmental characteristics of a student with your
selected disability.
a. Make connections to all developmental domains. 1b
b. Research and review literature (course materials and at least three (3)
scholarly/medical/research-based resources)
c. Research, select and view a videotaped observation(s) of a child with your selected
2. Teaching Strategies/Intervention:
a. Use your researched literature and observed video(s) to describe how you would
include a child with your selected disability in your classroom. Include classroom
environment, 2 developmental learning opportunities, adaptations, and assistive
technology. 5c
b. Describe a variety of observation and assessment methods — a minimum of two
each 3c:
Observation Examples: data collection including observation, anecdotal
records, running records, checklists, tallies, and teacher-made formative
Assessment Examples: Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ), Brigance
Screen, Preschool Assessment Framework (PAF), Devereaux Early
Childhood Assessment (DECA)
c. Reflect and articulate the knowledge gained from data-driven decision-making
practices. 3c
C. Partnership with Families and Ethical Responsibilities to the Child:
a. Describe two ways to build home-school connections, learn from families observations,
and reciprocate effective teaching strategies in both settings. 2b
b. Engaging in informed advocacy for young children and the early childhood profession.6e
c. Explain how you would intentionally apply one ideal and one principle from NAEYC Code
of Ethical Conduct and Statement of Commitment. 6b
Your paper must consist of 7-8 pages, including title page, abstract, sections A, B, and C, and
reference page.
Your completed research paper must demonstrate research using at least three (3)
scholarly/medical/research-based resources. Websites about your disability are not acceptable
unless you find and use specific articles found on the site. You must reference and cite your work according to APA. Follow all APA guidelines for formatting
and citations. All information that you learned from a source must be cited in the text and
referenced according to APA.
Title page (first page): Center other information under the title: Student name; CHS208; Post
University; Date.
Page numbers: top left-hand margin of every page after the title page.
In-text citation: give credit within the paper for any information that is quoted or paraphrased.
Review this example: In these studies, early childhood teachers report marked increases in
several areas of learning for all students, including disabled students and second language
students (Casey, 1994).
Reference Page: final page needs to provide further information about reference works. For
Casey, J. (1994). Integrating computers in the primary classroom. The Computing Teacher,
21, 33-36. Retrieved from

Chapter 5
Categories of Disability under the IDEIA
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA) provides a guide for how states define disability and determine who is eligible for a free and appropriate public education under special education law. The specific disability terms from the IDEIA regulations are listed in Figure 5-2. It is important to note that for all categories, in order to fully meet the definition (and eligibility for special education and related services) as a child with a disability, a childs educational performance must be adversely affected due to the disability.

Figure 5-2
Specific Disability Terms from the IDEIA Regulations



Developmental delay

Emotional disturbance

Hearing impairment

Intellectual disability

Multiple disabilities

Orthopedic impairment

Other health impairment

Specific learning disability

Speech or language impairment

Traumatic brain injury

Visual impairment, including blindness

Cengage Learning 2015
Despite controversy, categorization does exist. Among other things, the system is used to allocate federal funding for educational services. Everyone working with children of any age needs to know something about each of the impairments. The following is a brief introduction to some of the categories listed in Figure 5-2.

Specific Learning Disabilities
Specific learning disabilities (SLDs) or learning disabilities (LDs) is defined as a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, that may manifest itself in the imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or do mathematical calculations.

In the school-age child, the label is often one of exclusionwhat the child is not:

not displaying an intellectual disability

not hearing impaired

not visually impaired

not displaying identifiable neurological problems, such as cerebral palsy

A normal or above-normal IQ is characteristic of most children with learning disabilities. Nevertheless, these children have problems learning to read, write, or do arithmetic. Trouble with reading, which affects most children with learning disabilities, is referred to as dyslexia. Dysgraphia is the term sometimes used to describe problems with printing and writing.

More than a hundred labels have been assigned to children whose learning problems baffle clinicians and educators. These labels, it should be noted, do little to help children with their learning problems. The reauthorization of IDEIA provides more flexibility to educators in how they identify and intervene with students with potential learning disabilities. Chapter 8 provides a description of Response to Intervention (RTI), a systematic approach to supporting all learners in the classroom that prevents overuse of the label learning disabled.

Speech and Language Impairments
Speech and language impairments account for the second-largest category of educational disabilities among young people aged six to twenty-one. With young children, it is often difficult to clearly define what is and what is not a problem because of these interacting factors:

rate of overall development


opportunity to hear language and talk to others

cultural expectations and values

general health and well-being

A number of typical or normal irregularities are common during language development. These need not become problems unless the child is unduly pressured. Speech and language problems often accompany other developmental disorders. Children with cerebral palsy may have serious speech problems, as may children with hearing loss or severe emotional disturbance. Whatever their causes, it is important that speech and language disorders receive attention as early as possible.

Linguistic and Cultural Diversity Connections
Disproportionality in Special Education
Historically there has been an overrepresentation of minority students under IDEIA, including English Language Learners (ELL) identified with a learning disability or other type of disability. When a minority groups numbers in special education are statistically higher than they should be, they are considered disproportionate, and thus the term disproportionality.

For example, statistically, about 12 percent of the language-minority population in the United States should require special education. But typically, language minorities are overrepresented in programs for the learning disabled. In California, where students with limited English proficiency make up 22.2 percent of the student population, ELL children are significantly overrepresented in special education, particularly in specific learning disabilities and speech impairment classes.

This is a problem, because it means that students have been misidentified and misplaced and thus are not receiving appropriate educational services. Disproportionality is a problem because children may be prevented from reaching their full academic potential. It also fosters negative stereotypes regarding minority groups. In addition, it hinders schools from identifying the fact that curriculum and teaching methods need to be altered to reach the instructional needs of a diverse student body.

As Artiles and Ortiz (2002) state: Research shows that ELLs in special education with learning disabilities demonstrate lower verbal and full-scale IQ scores after placement in special education than at their initial evaluations.

This means that even in special education, ELLs (in general) do not receive the type of instruction they need (due to the lack of ESL instructional methodology and other professional development for special education professionals) ().

Disproportionality may be caused by several factors, including use of inappropriate assessment strategies for ELL and racial minorities, failure to accommodate cultural differences, and lack of responsiveness to these differences.

Sources: Artiles, A. J., & Oritz, A. A. (2002). Before Assessing a Child for Special Education, First Assess the Instructional Program. A Summary of English Language Learners with Special Education Needs. Center for Applied Linguistics: Washington, DC. Retrieved from
Minow, M. L. (2001). Limited English proficient students and special education. National Center on Accessing the General Curriculum: Wakefield, MA. Retrieved from
Developmental Delay
According to Part C under IDEIA, children from birth to age three, and Part B under IDES, for children from ages three through nine, the term developmental delay, as defined by each state, means a delay in one or more of the following areas:

physical development

cognitive development


social or emotional development

adaptive (behavioral) development

Intellectual Disability
Intellectual disability is a new term in the IDEIA. Until 2010 the law and the field of education used the term mental retardation. This change came about when President Obama signed Rosas Law. The bill was named after Rosa Marcellino, a nine-year-old girl who has Down syndrome. President Obama noted,

This may seem to some people like a minor change, but I think Rosas brother Nick put it best. He said, What you call people is how you treat them. If we change the words, maybe it will be the start of a new attitude towards people with disabilities. Thats a lot of wisdom from Nick (The White House, 2010).

The long-standing term of mental retardation was very controversial and had acquired social stigma. It also was a serious disrupter in regard to its use with young children. Children change and evolve, and the terms finality failed to take this development flux into account. While the term changed, the definition remained the same, meaning significantly subaverage general intellectual functioning, existing at the same time with deficits in adaptive behavior. This delay must be manifested during the developmental period that adversely affects a childs educational performance.

According to the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD), adaptive behaviors comprise three skill types:

Conceptual skillslanguage and literacy; money, time, and number concepts; and self-direction

Social skillsinterpersonal skills, social responsibility, self-esteem, gullibility, social problem solving, and the ability to follow rules/obey laws

Practical skillsactivities of daily living (personal care), occupational skills, health care, travel/transportation

TeachSource Video Connections
Kristina: Modifications for a Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Student in an Inclusive Elementary Classroom
Kristina: Modifications for a Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Student in an Inclusive Elementary Classroom
Cengage Learning 2015
In this video you will hear from Kristinas teacher, Ms. Lee, as she describes the steps she has taken to help Kristina succeed in her fourth-grade classroom.

After watching the video discuss the following:

What strategies did Ms. Lee use to foster Kristinas progress?

How might Kristinas educational experience have been different if she had attended a different school or had a different teacher?

Emotional Disturbance
According to the IDEIA, an emotional disturbance is defined by an individual exhibiting one or more of the following characteristics over a long period of time and to a marked degree that adversely affects a childs educational performance:

An inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory, or health factors.

An inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers.

Inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances.

A general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression.

A tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems.

Emotional disorders are characterized by behavioral or emotional responses that are so different from appropriate age, ethnic, or community norms that the responses adversely affect educational performance, including academic, social, vocational, or personal skills (Forness & Knitzer, 1990; McClelland, Morrison, & Holmes, 2000). Childrens behavior during their early years is heavily influenced by childrearing practices, cultural values, and expectations of family and community. Parents who are aggressive, for example, tend to have children who also behave aggressively. Thus, the childs aggressiveness is perfectly normal in light of his or her upbringing.

The social and emotional characteristics of young children also are highly influenced by particular stages of development. (In the past, early childhood educators and pediatricians used terms such as the Terrible Twos to describe a toddlers struggle for independence.) Behavior difficulties often arise out of the frustrations a young child experiences in trying to master basic developmental skills: learning to feed, dress, and toilet himself or herself; learning what to fear and what not to fear; learning what is acceptable behavior and what is not. A childs behavior always should be judged by what is developmentally appropriate for his or her particular age and background.

A normal or above-normal IQ is characteristic of most children with learning disabilities. Nevertheless, these children have problems learning to read, write, or do arithmetic.

A normal or above-normal IQ is characteristic of most children with learning disabilities. Nevertheless, these children have problems learning to read, write, or do arithmetic.
Cengage Learning 2015
Multiple Disabilities
A number of children have more than one disability. It has been estimated that 20 to 50 percent of children with serious hearing deficits have additional problems such as language delays. Many of the syndromes also are characterized by several problems occurring together. For example, children with cerebral palsy may have a speech delay, fine or gross motor difficulties or both, and feeding problems. The IDEIA specifically states that, in order to qualify for this category, the combination of disabilities must cause such severe educational needs that they cannot be accommodated in a special education program solely for one of the impairments. The term does not include deaf-blindness.

Hearing Impairment and Deafness
These are treated as two separate categories under the IDEIA. Hearing impairment means an impairment in hearing, whether permanent or fluctuating, that adversely affects a childs educational performance but is not included under the definition of deafness.

As defined by federal regulation, deafness is a hearing loss so severe that individuals cannot process spoken language, even with hearing aids or other forms of amplification.

Deafness and hearing impairments often are labeled according to when the damage occurred. Individuals who have been deaf since birth experience congenital deafness. Individuals born with normal hearing who have lost it through an injury or disease experience adventitious deafness. If the loss occurs after a child has acquired some language, the developmental problems tend to be fewer.

Children who have even a short exposure to language before they lose their hearing do better in acquiring language skills than do children who were born deaf. Nevertheless, even a mild hearing loss can affect all aspects of development unless the child receives appropriate intervention services.

Orthopedic Impairments
Developmental problems that interfere with walking or other body movement are considered orthopedic or physical impairments. In many instances, orthopedic problems and neurological problems are closely related. According to federal regulation, orthopedic impairments refer to impairments caused by congenital anomalies and structural deformities such as club foot, absence of a limb, or paralysis; impairments caused by diseases such as polio; neurological and spinal cord damage resulting in problems such as paralysis of major muscles; and impairments from other causes such as severely fractured bones, amputations, or burns.

It may be weeks or months (even well into the first year) before an infant gives evidence of a neurological impairment. The problem may become noticeable only when certain of the very early reflexive behaviors do not emerge on schedule and so interfere with the infants acquisition of new and more mature responses. For example, most newborns automatically grasp a finger placed in their hand. Unless this primitive grasp reflex drops out between one and four months of age, infants will not be able to learn to release objects at will.

Other Health Impairments
Young children with severe health problems often have limited strength, vitality, and alertness. They also may experience pain and discomfort much of the time. A normal childhood may be nearly impossible because of frequent hospitalizations or intensive medical treatment.

Health disorders take many forms:

heart problems (weak or damaged heart)

leukemia (cancer of the bone marrow)

asthma (disorder of the respiratory system)

sickle-cell anemia (red blood cell malformation)

hemophilia (a bleeding disorder)

diabetes (faulty metabolism of sugar and starch)

cystic fibrosis (lung and digestive problems)

Health disorders may be described as chronic or acute (although a chronic problem can go into an acute state). In either event, the childs overall development is threatened. While poor health may not be the actual cause of other developmental disorders, it can create situations that lead to other problems.

A child who is physically weak, unable to run and jump and play with children of the same age, may be socially isolated. Brothers and sisters may resent having to play with the child instead of with their own playmates. They also may resent the parents focus on the sick child.

Visual Impairments
As with other problems, there is no clear-cut definition of visual impairment.

A legal definition is proposed by the National Society for the Prevention of Blindness:

Blind: Visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye with the best possible correction; or a much-reduced field of vision (at its widest diameter, a visual arc of 20 degrees or less).

Partially sighted: Visual acuity between 20/70 and 20/200 in the better eye with the best possible correction.

Vision impairments range from severe to mild. The American Foundation for the Blind offers an educational definition for visual impairments:

Blind: Visual loss is severe enough that it is not possible to read print, requiring the child to be educated through the use of Braille and other tactile and auditory materials.

Partially seeing: Residual vision is sufficient to allow a child to read large print or possibly regular print under special conditions and to use other visual materials for educational purposes.

Total blindness, whether congenital or occurring after birth, is readily identified. The baby simply does not respond to people or objects with the range of a sighted person. Less severe visual disorders may be more difficult to identify. Frequently, the problem does not show up until it is time for the child to learn to read and write.

Combined Deafness and Blindness
A combination of vision and hearing problems requires highly specialized intervention programs. Serious sensory deficits in combination usually result in problems with language and in cognitive and social development. Until the late 1960s, education for children who were both deaf and blind was available only in private institutions. In 1968, the picture changed: Federal legislation authorized eight model centers for educating children who had both deafness and blindness. More recent legislation provides states with funds for educating these children.

As defined under IDEIA, autism is a developmental disability significantly affecting verbal and nonverbal communication and social interactions, generally evident before age three, that adversely affects a childs educational performance. First described in the 1940s, autism originally was blamed on lack of affectionate and responsive parenting. Subsequent research has demonstrated that parenting style is not a contributing factor for autism. Although autism still is behaviorally defined, it is now known to be a developmental disorder of the brain (Rapin & Katzman, 1998). Recent research has demonstrated that a reduced head size at birth followed by an excessive increase in head size between one to two months and six to fourteen months may be common in children with autism. This change in head size may serve as an early warning sign of autism risk (Courchesne, Caper, & Akshoomoff, 2003). In many well-known disorders (most of them genetic), autism occurs in a small percentage of the cases (e.g., Fragile X syndrome and tuberous sclerosis), but the medical origin remains unknown in most cases. Some cognitive delay is present in 75 percent of children with autism.

Traumatic Brain Injury
This category of injuries (either open- or closed-wound) to the head cause tearing of the nerve fibers, bruising of the brain against the skull, or bruising of the brain stem. The most common consequences, as far as learning is concerned, are:

confusion in spatial orientation and directionality

marked distractibility and short attention span

problems in both short- and long-term memory

impulsivity and, sometimes, aggressiveness

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