Assignment: Becoming a Special Education Advocate
Becoming a leader in the field of special education entails being an advocate for issues and discrepancies often faced by students and their families, those with and without disabilities. Not only will you have to take on the challenge of defending your position and presenting your case, you will have to be innovative in how you deliver your message to a variety of audiences.
For this Assignment, you will synthesize the resources and research collected, and create an opinion editorial (op-ed) piece addressing the identified issue.
Purpose: To synthesize collected research and practice scholarly writing.
· Review all module Learning Resources.
· Review resources on TED Lines, the CEC TED Division Newsletter.
· Think about what you might include in an op-ed piece on a specific issue for the state of South Carolina CEC TED Division Newsletter.
a draft of your op-ed
2- to 3-page opinion editorial incorporating feedback from your colleagues. Include the following in your op-ed:
· Introduction, clearly identifying the issue and presenting your position for transformation
· Research to support your position and evidence for the need for transformation of the identified issue
· Conclusion, summary of the facts and findings
· At least 5 scholarly sources cited in APA format on a reference page
Note: For this Assignment and all scholarly writing in this course and throughout your program, you will be required to use APA style (6th edition). Please use the Walden Writing Center as a resource as you complete assignments.
Florian, L. (Ed.). (2014). The SAGE handbook of special education (2nd ed.). London, England: Sage Publications Ltd.
Adderley, R. J., Hope, M. A., Hughes, G. C., Jones, L., Messiou, K., & Shaw, P. A. (2015). Exploring inclusive practices in primary schools: Focusing on children’s voices. European Journal of Special Needs Education, 30(1), 106–121.
Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.
Children share their views about the practices of teachers and how these hindered and/or helped their sense of inclusion.
American Federation of Teachers. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.aft.org
Institute of International Education, Inc. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.iie.org/
National Education Association. (2002–2015). Issues and action. Retrieved from http://www.nea.org/home/IssuesAndAction.html
Teacher Education Division of the Council for Exceptional Children. (2013). TEDLines. Retrieved from http://ted.projectpreview.us/publications/publications-list-view/tedlines
U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences. (n.d.). National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved from http://nces.ed.gov/
Walden University. (2015b). About. Retrieved from http://www.waldenu.edu/about
Becoming a Special Education Advocate
Becoming a Special Education Advocate
The news that twice-exceptional (2E) students are an under-served and under-recognized population in schools is unsettling. Twice-exceptional relates to individuals with exceptional ability and disability. This concept is difficult to fully comprehend as the characteristics of these students can be difficult to recognize. Nevertheless, a transformation in the field of special education is needed to address the strengths and needs of this unique population. Many stakeholders are not aware of the twice-exceptional concept (Josephson, Wolfgang, & Mehrenberg, 2018) and professional development and academic training are essential to making a positive change with our twice-exceptional students.
Twice-exceptional students have experienced underachievement, stress, anxiety, and poor relationships due to negative school experiences. There is a lack of research on the social experiences of twice-exceptional children (Ronksley-Pavia, Grootenboer, and Pendergast, 2019). As research advances the focus is more on students’ weaknesses rather than strengths. Educators of 2E students should focus less on student weaknesses and more on strengthening student’s talents and interest. Twice-exceptional students require differentiated instruction and advanced content that includes the effects of their dual exceptionalities (Reis, Baum, & Burke, 2014).
Lee and Ritchotte (2018) advocate for seeing the characteristics and needs of twice-exceptional students and using best practices to support their learning. Before the Gifted and Talented Children Educational Assistance Act in 1969, gifted education in the United States received little attention and financial support. The first federal definition of gifted and talented was presented in the 1971 Marland Report. Unfortunately, districts interpreted the legislation requirements in different ways from the original intent. The practice of using exceptional intellectual ability for gifted identification led to underrepresented subgroups such as special education students in gifted programs. The Jacob K. Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Act, passed in 1988 and gave funding priority to identifying students missed by traditional assessment methods. The reauthorization of IDEA 2004 led experts in the field of gifted education to recommend that the RTI model be applied in the identification of twice-exceptional students. The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 definition of gifted and talented is similar to the one introduced in the Marland report. The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) has yet to provide a definition of gifted and talented, but retains the Javits program, which supports the identification of and service for gifted students, and children with disabilities. Today, some states adopt either the phrase or concept of twice exceptionality in their definitions of gifted and talented (Lee & Ritchotte, 2018), but all states should be required to adopt the concept of twice-exceptionality in their definitions of gifted and talented.
Twice-exceptional students should be given the same opportunities to compete for and benefit from accelerated programs and classes as are given to students without disabilities (Reis, Baum, & Burke, 2014). However, some practitioners believe giftedness and disabilities are incapable of existing together. Educators have been resistant to enabling 2E students access to advanced-level programs. Even when 2E students are enrolled in advanced classes, their teachers have been reluctant to provide Individual Education Plan (IEP) or 504 Plan accommodations to support student learning. The issue around identifying and serving 2E students should be a call to action for federal and state lawmakers, who hold the power to change the representation of twice-exceptional students in schools, which can provide a crucial path to change in the field of special education. Furthermore, policy and practices can be developed by engaging such children experiences, so the needs of this unique population can be recognized and addressed (Ronksley-Pavia, Grootenboer, and Pendergast, 2019).
All student strengths and needs must be addressed. Concerns regarding students who are both gifted and challenged continue to be a topic of discussion in the field of special education. Though all learners deserve an equitable educational opportunity, providing such a service is a challenge for many teachers. Teachers have to adjust, alter or differentiate learning, so all students can fully participate in the classroom at their own ability level (Rowan & Townend, 2016). In order for twice-exceptional students to be appropriately represented, schools need the knowledge, resources, and supports to successfully identify and service such a unique population.
Josephson, J., Wolfgang, C., & Mehrenberg, R. (2018). Strategies for supporting students who
are twice-exceptional. Journal of Special Education Apprenticeship, 7(2), n2.
Lee, C. W., & Ritchotte, J. A. (2018, January). Seeing and supporting twice-exceptional learners.
In The Educational Forum (Vol. 82, No. 1, pp. 68-84). Routledge.
Reis, S. M., Baum, S. M., & Burke, E. (2014). An operational definition of twice-exceptional
learners: Implications and applications. Gifted Child Quarterly, 58(3), 217-230.
Ronksley-Pavia, M., Grootenboer, P., & Pendergast, D. (2019). Privileging the voices of twice-
exceptional children: An exploration of lived experiences and stigma narratives. Journal
for the Education of the Gifted, 42(1), 4-34.
Rowan, L., & Townend, G. (2016). Early career teachers’ beliefs about their preparedness to
teach: Implications for the professional development of teachers working with gifted
and twice-exceptional students. Cogent Education, 3(1), 1242458.