Numerous people have engaged in the debate about what education persons with disabilities should be provided. For many years, such persons had received diminutive consideration in terms of their education needs. Numerous individuals still wonder whether the numerous efforts by the government to spend considerable resources on such persons are justifiable.
The notion that such persons cannot learn has been the basis of unbelief in the credence of educating persons with disability. The focus of this essay is to justify these efforts, and reiterate the importance to increase funding in the education of persons with disability.
The most recurrent basis of argument in the education of persons with a disability is the fact that numerous of such persons cannot advance significantly in the normal education programs. It is true that individuals, especially, with intellectual handicaps cannot grasp content beyond the lower elementary level.
However, an imperative question is what education to refer. John Dewey, a renowned scholar in education asked a similar question at the end of a seminal presentation (Jackson 1). The seminar was attended by seasoned educators, and therefore, the question was not whether they knew what education was. Dewey’s enquiry is the nature of the enquiry needed in this debate.
In defining education, a basic distinction is the difference between schooling and education. Schooling is the attendance of formal classes where the content is prescribed and follows a syllabus. Also referred as formal education, it involves the phenomena of teaching and learning as facilitated by the gratuitous and involuntary means.
However, the term education, devoid of any descriptive adjective extends beyond formal education (Brock 4). It involves the transmission of culture and relaying of important knowledge to facilitate a person’s inclusion into a society. Therefore, the view that such persons cannot advance beyond the lower elementary levels ignores the wider meaning of education.
Of importance in this debate is the meaning of students with disabilities. IDEA defines this category of learners as comprising persons with mental impediments, hearing and sight inaptitude and advance emotional disturbance. This category also includes persons with orthopedic impediments, autism, TBI and OHI.
For these persons to qualify, they have to be in need of exceptional education and associated offings (P. L. 101-476). Therefore, against the common perception, this group constitutes a variety of individuals with different qualities, visible and non-perceptible and requiring different services (Jones, Apling and Smole 212).
Another misunderstanding among a majority of the people, who do not comprehend about the education of persons with disabilities, is whether these persons can learn. Regarding this, many believe that some people, especially those with intellectual disability, are uneducable. However, just like the general population, various people differ in their levels of learning.
In any learning scenario, not all students learn at the same level. Differences in such ranks persist across all levels of education. Like all qualities of a human, learning aptitudes follow a Gaussian curve. In every classroom, there are learners who learn most of the content, and others who learn just a bit of the content.
A popular statement in contemporary education lingo is that every child can learn. There lacks a truer statement. However, this too needs clarification. Precisely, all learner are educable, a favorable level of content, given enough time and resources. This clarification provides the basis for stating that every child can learn.
A person with intellectual disability can learn, and so can a talented child. Dissimilarities exist in the level they can master, the time they take to assimilate and the level of assistance they need, but they all learn. It is, therefore, a fact that all children are educable. This eliminates any doubts about the appropriateness of expenses on edification of even the most affected pupil.
It is a fact that numerous persons cannot learn the basic curriculum used in normal classes. Though this fact is irrefutable, it does not translate to lack of learning requirements for persons with disabilities.
Just, as the normal curriculum is formulated by humans, bearing in mind the educational requirements of average students, other forms of the curriculum can be formulated to cater for the needs of persons in this category. Other forms of the curriculum include the adapted, adopted and specialist curriculum. These forms feature varying dissimilarities with the normal curriculum.
Since these people have varying learning needs, then their curriculum differs, with varying degrees dependent on their levels of disabilities. For example, the specialist curriculum features the least relation to the normal curriculum and is intended for learners with serious levels of disability. This curriculum features little academic skills, but a lot of activities of daily living (ADL) (Albrecht et al 112).
These activities feature skills that are essential for the survival of the person. These skills include feeding, dressing, and personal sanitation. Such skills aid individuals with disabilities to increase their levels of independence. Apart from relieving others from such duties, it also helps to increase their sense of self-worth, which is vital for their mental health.
There are numerous advantages associated with educating persons with disabilities (Marshall 39). The first regards the fulfillment of human dignity outlined in the law. The UN identifies education as a basic human right that is unalienable from every individual.
Providing education to persons with disabilities affirms a nation’s recognition of such people as human beings. Failure in this, results in an inhuman society. Further, what would be the implication of providing varied qualities in education amid different groups? The obvious interpretation would be that some are more human than the other.
Critics will argue that this is also the case in the normal world, where capitalism ensures high qualities of education for the affluent and considerably varied levels for other social economic groupings. However, a pertinent question is whether this wrong would justify committing of another evil. Definitely not; apart from the condemnation of the same, the endeavors of all people should be to facilitate the righting of this phenomenon.
Another advantage of educating persons with disability concerns enabling them become productive members of society. According to studies conducted in 2009, an estimated 12% of individuals have a disability. This presents about 36 million people who are not institutionalized.
Of this population, 26.4% of individuals were living in an extremely impoverished condition. The number of persons with disabilities continues to increase every year; for example, new SSDI applications increased by 21% between 2008 and 2009. Nevertheless, the percentage of individuals lacking employment or jobs was roughly 48.9%.
This shows an increasing number of persons with disabilities, but limited employment chances (Albrecht et al 132). The result is an increased population requiring assistance for the government. This trend is not sustainable, and in time, will result in undue pressure to government expenditure.
One of the solutions to this worrisome situation lies in the educations of persons with disability. Educating this group will ensure increased self-dependence and employability. The regulation on equal employment may be ineffective, if people do not have employable skills. There should, therefore, be no limit in the employment of resources in the education of persons with disabilities. Current expenditure would serve to reduce future expenditure on welfare.
The education of persons with disabilities had received insufficient emphasis in previous years; however, things have significantly changed in this sector. Nevertheless, significant misperceptions abound regarding the education of persons with disabilities. Numerous people question the significance of the undertaking.
The most conspicuous reason given is that they are not educable. Critics, exemplifying intellectual disability, cite the uneducable nature of these people as their basis for neglecting the education of persons with disabilities. However, it is immutable that all children can learn.
Dissimilarities exist in the levels of mastery that various learners can achieve. Further, there exist differences in nature and volume of resources required by different pupils to learn. Time is also another imperative consideration in this clarification. Another consideration to make, in deciding on such funding, is the rising population of persons with disabilities.
This population continuously increases through the years. Among this group, poverty levels are lofty. Additionally, more than half are not employed. Educating them is a step further in protecting the future of the country. In the sight of increasing welfare requirement, ensuring people achieve employable skills is a prudent investment.
Albrecht et al. Handbook of disability studies. California, CA: Sage Publications, 2001. Print.
Brock, Colin. Education as a Global Concern. London, UK: Continuum International Publishing Group, 2011. Print.
Jackson, Philip. What is education? Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012. Print.
Jones, Nancy, Apling, Richard and Smole, David. Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA): background and issues. Hauppauge, NY: Nova Publishers.
Marshall, Catherine. Disabilities: insights from across fields and around the world, Volume 1. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2009. Print