Attitude Legislation and Litigation
Change of Attitude towards the Disabled
Several changes have been made in the matters relating to the disabled in society since the early 19th century. In the earlier days, children born with various forms of disabilities were not regarded as part of the society because of their inability to take part in the day-to-day operations of the community. This problem was impacted by earlier philosophies that created the negative attitude towards people with disabilities, with a majority of them having no chance of even joining institutions like schools. Civil rights movement groups were initiated in the US because of the philosophies that impacted segregation due to the differences that existed among the people. However, such movements were beneficial in the advocacy for equality and justice, thereby creating the progressive change of attitudes that were currently have in the society. Today, the society is guided by tolerance and appreciation as key pillars towards development (Amato, Hong and Rosenblum, 2013).
The change of attitude has pointed out the need for the education of children with disabilities through enhanced supervised social interactions. Of great interest is that politically correct terms like ‘exceptional children’ have been used in the replacement of retrogressive terms like ‘disabled, idiot or retarded’ children. As a result of this, parents and other stake holders are investing in making sure that the students with disabilities acquire personalized attention that they need in order to learn and make contributions to the development of the society (U.S Office of Special Education Programs, 2007).
Impacts of Legislation to the Change of Attitudes towards Disabled Students
The Human Rights movements mentioned in the preceding paragraphs helped in pushing for the appropriate legislations that ensured equality with regards to the provision of services t all citizens. Besides, all persons with disabilities were given the right to access educational opportunities. Federal legislations were set up to provide direction to all parents on how to make sure that disabled children have the right of access to education. Such parents are also educated on their rights and the need for educating their children. Legislations have also helped in directing the learning institutions to accept the children despite their forms of disabilities, amongst other guidelines on the matter. In particular, the NCLB legislation by President Bush Junior gave direction for the assessment of all disabled children at school, a move that has helped in proving the abilities of disabled students (U.S Office of Special Education Programs, 2007). The increased government funding has made sure that various schools are empowered to be responsible for the wellbeing of people with disabilities.
Influences of Litigation to the Change of Attitudes towards Disabled Students
Before the 1950, students in the United States faced segregation and discrimination based on the disparities that existed between them. However, many changes became clear as directed by several court cases like Brown v. The Board of Education (Heward, 2009). This case helped in the establishment of equality in the education sector by abolishing discrimination by the school authorities as a result of differences related to disabilities. According to Heward (2009), Mills v. Board of Education is yet another important litigation that helped in shaping the attitude towards children with disabilities. This case led to the directive that all children are entitled to appropriate education. As a result, schools have to create sustainable measures aimed at facilitating the learning of disabled students (Heward, 2009).
Several changes are yet to be realized in the education of children with disabilities. According to my understanding, the future does not so bright judging by the current situation. With regards to the fact that legislations and litigations have created a positive attitude towards the education of students with disabilities, Federal government and the states have to enhance their performance. Legislations and litigations have helped in impacting awareness and empowerment to a level that all disabled children have been registered in educational institutions. However, these institutions are required to produce more despite the less funding that is offered to them by the states and Federal government (Trent, Kea and Oh, 2008). It should be noted that education of the disabled is called special education because of the requirements that must be realized in order to produce fruitful results.
The performance of the teachers in relation to the score of students is yet another factor that may impact an unpromising future on special education. Today, standardized test system stipulates that teachers are paid according to the way their students perform. This will have negative results in future since the number of disabled children continues to rise in learning institutions. These students require special attention, of which if not administered, hinder them from exhibiting better scores. Therefore, many teachers usually opt not to take up such jobs (Trent, Kea, Oh, 2008). Besides, lack of cooperation between researchers and teachers has also contributed to the failure in following the proposed methods of teaching. I think that these issues must be addressed appropriately in order to realize a progressive future.
Personal Encounter with Disabled Persons
I first came face to face with a disabled person at four years of age. My mother and I had visited a family friend a few kilometers away from home. I developed curiosity when I saw this boy in a wheelchair, unable to stand and jump, like the rest of us. At first, I felt sympathy and pity for him because I could not understand why he was unable to stand and play with us. I was afraid of getting close to him because I thought that he was experiencing great pain in his body parts. Later, I realized that there are certain things that he could do in his own way, with the help of others. I also discovered the joy he felt when involved in the activities with the rest of us.
Current Response to Persons with Disabilities
For so many years, I have met people with different forms of disabilities. Some of them were born with disabilities while others acquired them through unfortunate events like accidents. One thing that is significant in all these people is that they are very productive when given the appropriate training and environment. They can do so much that people without disabilities cannot achieve, an observation that has made me believe that these people are not ‘disabled’ but ‘abled differently.’ They only need to be supported by all the stakeholders.
Amato, S., Hong, S. & Rosenblum, P. (2013). The Abacus: Instruction by Teachers of Students
with Visual Impairments. Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness. 107 (4), 262-273
Heward, W. (2009). Exceptional children: an introduction to special education. (9th Ed.).
Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill.
Trent, C., Kea, D. and Oh, K. (2008). Preparing Preservice Educators for Cultural Diversity:
How Far Have We Come? Exceptional Children. Vol. 74 Issue 3, pp. 328-350.
U.S. Office of Special Education Programs. (2007). Individuals with Disabilities Education Act