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Special Ed101 for School Librarians by ProQuest

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Special and general educators rely on the school library for many reasons, such as the wealth of resources that are used to motivate students and individualize instruction and the fact that many students with disabilities enjoy spending time there (Smith-Canter, Voytecki, Zambone, and Jones 2009). In the June 2009 issue of School Library Media Activities Monthly, Helen R. Adams discussed the legal and ethical mandates for school librarians to serve students with special needs (54). While school librarians may not always have a great deal of training and support to accommodate students with disabilities, they have historically welcomed this group of students. This article is designed to provide school librarians with an overview of the types of challenges faced by students with special needs and global suggestions for addressing some of those challenges within the context of the school library program. [PUBLICATION ABSTRACT]

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    Special Ed101
for School Librarians
                                            by Alana M. Zambone and Jami L. Jones




S
                                                                   Students with special needs often find
        pecial and general educators rely on the               motivation and success in the school
        school library for many reasons, such as               library because it is a place to go where
                                                               classroom failure or frustration can be left
        the wealth of resources that are used to               behind (Jones and Zambone 2008). At the
                                                               school library, special needs students can
motivate students and individualize instruction                find a variety of materials to complement
                                                               their learning strengths, have a chance to
and the fact that many students with disabilities              work independently or in smaller groups,
enjoy spending time there (Smith-Canter,                       and have an opportunity to make choices,
                                                               which contributes to their development
Voytecki, Zambone, and Jones 2009). In the                     (Smith 2006; Wesson and Keefe 1995).
                                                                   A first step to helping students with
June 2009 issue of School Library Media Activities             special needs begins with understand-
                                                               ing the different disabling conditions.
Monthly, Helen R. Adams discussed the legal and                Students with disabilities are exceedingly
ethical mandates for school librarians to serve                heterogeneous, although students with
                                                               different disability labels may exhibit
students with special needs (54). While school                 similar academic, social, and behavioral
                                                               challenges in school. Often, the person
librarians may not always have a great deal of                 gets lost in consideration of his or her
                                                               disabling conditions and the ways these
training and support to accommodate students                   conditions affect the student’s develop-
with disabilities, they have historically welcomed             ment and learning. Each individual’s
                                                               characteristics, experiences, and disability
this group of students. This article is designed to            influences development, learning, and
                                                               functioning. Most importantly, it is im-
provide school librarians with an overview of the              portant for school librarians to remember
                                                               that students with disabilities are people
types of challenges faced by students with special             first.
needs and global suggestions for addressing                        The Individuals with Disabilities
                                                               Education Act (IDEA) defines the specific
some of those challenges within the context of                 criteria for special education services and
                                                               describes the characteristics of thirteen
the school library program.                                    different disability categories. To be

                                         School Library Monthly/Volume XXVI, Number 6/February 2010     19
eligible for special education, students in
public schools must exhibit the charac-           Table 1. Overview of Learning Challenges
teristics of one or more of these thirteen
disability categories. IDEA typically orga-       Functions             Impairments or Challenges        Disability Categories
nizes the thirteen categories of disabilities                                                             Manifesting These
listed into two groups: high incident and                                                                 Challenges
low incident disabilities. High incident          Cognitive             Cognitive deficits or            Learning Disabilities
disabilities appear most often in the gen-                               differences such as             Mental Retardation
eral population. These include:                                          sequencing, abstract            Traumatic Brain Injury
    ▶Learning Disabilities                                               understanding, and/             More Severe Forms
    ▶Mild or moderate Mental Retarda-                                    or generalizing what is           of Autism Spectrum
      tion, currently referred to as Intellec-                           learned to new tasks or           Disorders
      tual Disability           
								
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