I would like to reflect on the high-incidence disability area which Beard, Carpenter and Johnson referred to in Chapter 5 as emotional or behavioral disorders. I have worked with several children in my teaching career who have been diagnosed , and sometimes not diagnosed, with emotional or behavioral disorders. Many of our students live in conditions which include “situational stressors”. Their home life may include violence, substance abuse, sexual abuse, poor living conditions, and generally unhealthy living conditions. For some of our youngsters emotional health is a luxury and school is a safe place. We, as their teachers, must support their emotional and social development.
In the Alper and Raharinirina article Assistive Technology for Individuals With Disabilities: A Review and Synthesis of the Literature the authors note “Todis (1996) found that students’ educational and social needs could only be successfully met only if the following factors were present: (a) the student’s education program was based on the family’s goals and values; (b) AT and student’s goals were linked; (c) family, student, and professionals work collaboratively;
(d )communication is ongoing; (e) equipment is replaced or modified as needed; and (f) problems were immediately resolved as soon as they arose.”
All of the readings this week underscore the importance of family involvement in the development and implementation of the IEP for students with emotional and behavioral disorders. As a professional educator we should work for our children to ensure that the school to family connections are as strong as they can possibly be. We need to be aware of the environment in which our children live and support them in all ways.