Learners with Mild Disabilities: A Characteristics Approach / Edition 4

Learners with Mild Disabilities: A Characteristics Approach / Edition 4

by Eileen B. Raymond, Catherine M. DeCourcey

A critical look at four high-prevalence mild disabilities as seen from several unique perspectives.

Learners with Mild Disabilities focuses on four high-prevalence disorders: mild intellectual disabilities, learning disabilities, emotional/behavioral disorders, and ADHD. The text also considers the Autism

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A critical look at four high-prevalence mild disabilities as seen from several unique perspectives.

Learners with Mild Disabilities focuses on four high-prevalence disorders: mild intellectual disabilities, learning disabilities, emotional/behavioral disorders, and ADHD. The text also considers the Autism Spectrum Disorders, such as HFA and Asperger’s Syndrome, in addition to other mild conditions such as communication disorders.

This text looks first at the concept of disability from conventional categorical perspectives, and then shifts to focusing on learners from the perspective of alternative, non-categorical frameworks. It describes students with disabilities and related conditions with respect to a variety of individual strengths and needs, considering their cognitive, perceptual, language, academic learning, and social/emotional characteristics. The reader is encouraged to apply these conceptual frameworks through the analysis of numerous vignettes and extended case studies that are drawn from the experiences of real children and teachers throughout the text. Using this non-categorical framework best prepares special educators for the complex job of providing effective services to the full and unique spectrum of students with mild disabilities.

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Table of Contents



Chapter 1 Perspectives on Disability

Meet Clarence

Studying High-Prevalence Disabilities

Mild Does Not Mean “Not Serious”

The Power of Language

Labeling, Classifying, and Identifying

To Classify or Not to Classify

Additional Thoughts on Labeling

The Historical Context of Disability

Early History of Disability

The Middle Ages, Renaissance and the Enlightenment

Disability Services in the United States (1800-1950)

Eugenics in Europe and the United States

The Testing Movement in Europe and the United States

Serving Children Identified as Having Disabilities

Disabilities in the United States from 1950 to the Present

Legislative and Legal Supports

Overview of the IDEA Principles

History of Rights Won in United States Courts

Trends in History


Ed Murphy: A Case Study

Chapter 2 Issues in Assessment and Identification

Meet Jeffrey

Assessment and Evaluation Requirements in IDEA

Purposes of Assessment of Students with Special Educational Needs

Types of Assessment Instruments and Techniques

Norm-Referenced Assessment

Criterion-Referenced and Curriculum-Based Assessment

Performance Assessment

Portfolio Assessment

Functional Behavioral Assessment

Reporting on Student Progress: Grading

Best Practices in Assessment of Children and Youth with Disabilities

Issues in Identification

Categories as Social Constructions

Are Non-categorical Models of Service an Alternative?

Response to Intervention: A Non-Categorical Strategy for Assessment and Identification

A Prevention Framework as Support


Sharon: A Case Study

Chapter 3 Issues in Instruction and Placement

Meet Enrico

Curriculum and Learners with Mild Disabilities

Alternatives to Instructional Accommodations

Instructional Strategies to Enhance Curricular Access

Explicit Teaching

Peer Tutoring

Cooperative Learning

Cognitive Strategies

Positive Behavioral Supports

Instruction and Individualized Education Program Planning

Alternative Curricula and Assessments

IDEA 2004 and the Location of Services

Least Restrictive Environment (LRE)

Models of Service Commonly Used for Students with Mild Disabilities

Inclusion: A Continuing Issue in Special Education


Angie: A Case Study


Chapter 4 Learners with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Meet Caroline

Naming this Group of Learners

Historical Foundations of Intellectual Disabilities

Development of the Definition of Intellectual Disabilities in the United States

IDEA Definition of Intellectual Disabilities

Additional Perspectives on Defining Intellectual Disabilities

The New Generation of Other AAIDD/AAMR Definitions

Developmental Disabilities and Delay

An Alternative Definition with an Instructional Perspective

Levels of Severity

Educational Terminology

Supports and Intensity of Support Needs

Prevalence of Intellectual Disabilities

Conditions Associated with Risk of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Biomedical Risk Factors

Environmental (Social, Behavioral, Educational) Risk Factors

Nature or Nurture?

Typical Characteristics of Persons with Intellectual Disabilities


Jennie: A Case Study

Chapter 5 Learners with Learning Disabilities

Meet Peter

Naming this Group of Learners

Historical Development of the Concept of Learning Disabilities

IDEA Definition of Specific Learning Disabilities

Assessment and Identification Issues

Discrepancy Determination Issues

IDEA 2004 and Changes in Identification Procedures

Response to Intervention as an Identification Process

An Alternative Definition of Learning Disabilities

Prevalence of Learning Disabilities

Conditions Associated with Learning Disabilities

Characteristics of Students with Learning Disabilities


Bobby: A Case Study

Chapter 6 Learners with Emotional or Behavioral Disorders

Meet Nicki

Terms to Refer to This Group of Learners

Historical Foundations of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders

IDEA Definition of Emotional Disturbance

Social Maladjustment: Definition and Exclusion

An Alternative Definition of Emotional or Behavioral Disorders

Assessment and Identification Issues

Response to Intervention

Levels of Severity

Prevalence of Emotional or Behavioral Disorders

Conditions Associated with Emotional or Behavioral Disorders

Biological Factors

Family Factors

Environmental, Social, and School Factors

Types of Emotional or Behavioral Disorders


Carter: A Case Study

Chapter 7 Learners with ADHD and Other Disorders and Conditions

Meet Nancy

Learners with Attention Problems

Naming this Group of Learners

ADHD and the IDEA

Current ADHD Definition in the DSM-IV-TR

Identification of Learners with ADHD

Types of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

Levels of Severity

Prevalence of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

Conditions Associated with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

Characteristics of Individuals with ADHD

Should ADHD Be a Separate Category in IDEA?

Physical and Sensory Disabilities

Physical and Health Disabilities

Sensory Disabilities

Traumatic Brain Injury

Communication Disorders

Medication: A Persistent Issue


Frank: A Case Study

Chapter 8 Learners with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Meet Jacob

Naming this Group of Learners

Historical Development of the concept of Autism Spectrum Disorders

IDEA Definition of Autism Spectrum Disorders

The Psychiatric/Medical Definition of Autism Spectrum Disorders in the DSM

Assessment and Identification Issues

Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorders

Levels of Severity

Conditions Associated with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Characteristics of Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Reciprocal Social Interactions and Relationships


Restricted Interests

Other Related Characteristics and Behaviors

Characteristics Descriptive of Specific Conditions on the Spectrum


Sara: A Case Study


Chapter 9 Cognitive and Perceptual Characteristics

Meet Robert

Cognitive Theory and Approaches to Mild Disabilities

Constructivist Perspectives

Piaget and Biological Constructivism

Vygotsky and Social Constructivism

Cognitive Styles Research

Field Dependence/Field Independence

Impulsivity and Reflectivity

Information-Processing Approaches

Structural Storage Components

Strategic Control Components

Executive Functions


Charlene: A Case Study

Chapter 10 Language Characteristics

Meet Tom

Definition of Language

Which Learners Have Language Difficulties/Disorders?

Language Components and Skills






Receptive and Expressive Language

Language Functions





Common Language Characteristics of Learners with Mild Disabilities

Language Difference or Disability?

Implications of Language Characteristics for Thinking and Learning


Clark: A Case Study

Chapter 11 Academic Learning Characteristics

Meet Barbara

What Is Learning?

Stages of Learning

Acquisition and Reversion

Proficiency and Automaticity




Critical Learning Needs of Students with Disabilities

The Role of Motivation

Extrinsic Motivation

Intrinsic Motivation

Locus of Control and Attribution of Success or Failure

External Causal Attributions and Locus of Control

Internal Causal Attributions and Locus of Control

Spirals of Failure or Success

Learned Helplessness

Adolescents with Disabilities in Behavior and Learning

Self Determination

Learning Styles and Multiple Intelligences

Learning Styles

Multiple Intelligences

Universal Design for Learning

Instructional Needs of Learners with Disabilities

Time Allowed for Instruction

Persistence or Motivation

Pupils’ Aptitude for Instruction

Ability to Understand Instruction

Quality of Instruction


Allison: A Case Study

Chapter 12 Social—Emotional Characteristics

Meet Eddie

Perspectives on Social—Emotional Characteristics

Developmental Perspectives

Erikson’s Theory of Psychosocial Development

Emotional Development

Development of Social Perspective Taking

Social Competence and Cognitive Development

Social Intelligence

Emotional Competence

Social Cognitive Delay

The Relationship Between Problems in Behavior and Problems in Learning

Behavior from an Ecological Perspective

Risk and Resilience

Maladaptive Behavior

Patterns of Maladaptive Behavior

IDEA 2004 and Serious Discipline Problems


Sammy: A Case Study


Council for Exceptional Children

Labeling and Categorizing of Children

Inclusive Schools and Community Settings

National Association of School Psychologists




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