For What Child by L. Lawrence Riccio (auth.)

By L. Lawrence Riccio (auth.)

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Television, literature, music) filled with caricatures of what a male or a female is, and young children do not always recognize these comic exaggerations as unreal. A young child may be confused about his sexual identity if he is growing up in a household with a mother and another woman who instructs the child to call her dad. The child may also be told to introduce this person as his father at school functions. Unless this child has continuous support to understand the meaning and intent of the concepts of ‘father’, ‘mother’, ‘woman’, and ‘man’, this situation could be problematic.

The “special need” is frequently seen as an obstacle to integration, full inclusion, and, ironically, to appropriate educational services. We know empirically that no two people learn in exactly the same way, and being “different” is both a fact and a goal for most of us. Learning is as unique to a person as her fingerprints. Each person has, for example, a different speed, a different rhythm, even a different attention span. If an alien speed, rhythm, and so forth, is imposed on the learner then learning does not occur—or, is at least, more complicated.

This paradigm may be valued less for meeting every individual student’s needs than for relieving classroom teachers of additional problems that they do not have the knowledge, attitude, or resources to deal with appropriately. There is no question, however, that regular education staff requires the service of specialists to support additional needs of some students. [Basic Assumption 6] Special education labels (categories of disabilities for placement) are frequently dictated by political and economic circumstances.

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