Continuing to Examine Disability Categories

Continuing to Examine Disability Categories
Identify the following elements in relation to Autism Spectrum Disorder, Communication (Speech/Language), and Early Childhood Conditions according to your text (Hallahan, Kauffman, & Pullen, 2015) and online resources.
• Definition, etiologies, causes, and educational purposes;
• Disability characteristics and how this may impact learning;
• The Oregon state eligibility criterion for Special Education Services. If different from Oregon’s, the criterion for your state. Refer to your state’s administrative rules and compare with them with the description in the text (Hallahan, Kauffman, & Pullen, 2015).
• Evidence-based practices, strategies, and supports;
• Teacher practices regarding the supervision and collaboration with paraeducators, the collaboration with parents, and coordination and collaboration related services;
• Four ideas on how you would provide inclusion opportunities in general education classroom and other school environments (to address both functional and core-academic curriculum priorities); and
• Several websites/resources that will provide high quality guidance regarding any of the specific disabilities mentioned this week.
Support your statements with evidence

Continuing to Examine Disability Categories
This week we will focus on developing an understanding of five more disability categories, their respective characters and how they are identified under IDEA. In the same format as in previous weeks, each category we discuss is specifically addressed in the textbook (Hallahan, Kauffman, & Pullen, 2015). For each category, continue to pay attention to the definition, characteristics, causes/etiology, assessment practices, and educational interventions and placements. Please continue to work sequentially to enhance your learning by reading one chapter with related resources at a time. By the end of this week, we will have examined all disability categories listed under IDEA.
Autism Spectrum Disorder
Autism Spectrum Disorder became a separate category of disability under IDEA in 1990, and is typically discussed under the broader term Autism Spectrum Disorder. Autism is considered to be a spectrum of disorders that may vary in intensity and may be combined with other disorders. It is defined as life-long neuro-developmental disabilities affecting verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction. The disorder is generally evident before age three. The five subtypes of ASD are referred to as Autism Spectrum Disorder, Asperger syndrome, Rett syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder, and pervasive developmental disorder–not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS). Children with serious emotional disturbance are excluded from this disability category. The publication of the new DSM-5 diagnostic manual (American Psychiatric Association, 2013) categorized these subtypes as autism subtypes under one umbrella diagnosis of ASD. The Autism Diagnosis Criteria in the DSM-V (Autism Live, 2013) video further explains the diagnostic criteria for ASD. Diagnostic identification of ASD does not mean that a child is eligible for Special Education Services, as diagnosis and eligibility have different purposes. Eligibility for Special Education Services under the category of ASD in the state of Oregon requires a diagnosis, in addition to assessment in specific domains. Assessments for ASD include screening, ASD checklists, functional communication assessment, social-communication inventories, ecological and task analyzed observations, sensory profiles, and any other relevant areas, including academic areas.
The Oregon State Commission on ASD (Education sub-committee) has developed a district-level ASD Program Self-Assessment (2012) to help local districts self-assess the quality of their ASD services.
One in 68 children have ASD (CDC, 2015). Characteristics of ASD include: adverse impact in communication and language skills, social skills, exhibition of repetitive thought or action and/or stereotypic movements, resistance to environmental shifts or transitions, unique or idiosyncratic response to environmental stimuli and change in familiar routines. These individuals often have difficulty with observational learning, interpretation of complex environments and usually have steadfast preferences and propensity for sameness. Many students with ASD have average or above average intelligence. Behavior challenges are often misunderstood and are erroneously over-simplified by being described as non-compliant. Students with ASD have talents and strengths that are not easily apparent.
Children with autism sometimes engage in repetitive activities and stereotyped movements, are resistant to environmental change or changes in daily routine, and display unusual responses to sensory experiences. Depending on the individual student, Special Education may be necessary to address the student’s extraordinary cognitive, social, and/or communication needs. Some students with autism will be able to function well without Special Education, but many will not.
Many interventions are identified as effective, evidence-based (EB), and promising. Instructional methodologies based on the Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) paradigm is one example of an effective approach. The National Autism Center’s Evidence-Based Practice and Autism in the Schools Educator Manual (National Autism Center, 2011) contains a complete list of EB approaches. Additionally, Autism Internet Modules (AIM, 2015) are a vital resource for any educator serving children with ASD.
Communication Disorders
Communication is the process of sharing information that involves many communicative functions, such as seeking social interactions, requesting objects, sharing ideas, and rejecting an object or interaction. It requires encoding (sending messages in understandable form) and decoding (receiving and understanding messages). Communication does not always involve oral language.
A communication disorder can impair the ability to transmit or receive ideas, facts, feelings, and desires and may involve language or speech or both, including hearing, listening, reading, and writing.
A speech disorder deals with some problem in the production and use of oral language, which is usually referred to as articulation.
A language disorder deals with some problem in the way a person is able to communicate. It includes problems in comprehension and expression, usually with rule violations involving form (phonology, morphology, syntax), content (semantics), or use of language (pragmatics).
The Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) can offer therapeutic services to students with communication disorders. The SLP’s role in providing these services can range from primary service provider to consultant, depending on the nature and setting of the intervention.
Review Speech & Language Referral and Eligibility (Southern Oregon ESD, 2015) for more information about communication disorders.
Sensory Impairments
Deafness & Hearing Loss
Children who are deaf may be able to perceive some sound, but are unable to use their hearing to understand speech. Deaf children develop speech and language skills mainly through their sense of sight. Children who are hard of hearing, on the other hand, have a significant hearing loss that makes special adaptations necessary. It is possible, however, for these children to respond to speech and other auditory stimuli. Children who are hard of hearing develop their speech and language skills mainly through the sense of hearing.
Blindness and Low Vision
The three general categories for blindness and low vision impairments are:
• Totally blind (no vision);
• Functionally blind (receives so little information from vision that other senses are primarily used); and
• Low vision (receives information from sight but needs to use other senses to supplement).
These general classifications imply that for the first two types of students, instruction commonly focuses on teaching a student compensatory skills such as learning to read braille and mobility training. For children with low vision, classroom adaptations, optical devices, and large print can be used as assistive technology to support the student when reading or engaging in activities that require sight. The age of onset of a visual impairment is also an important consideration in programming. Children who have been blind from birth have no visual history to apply to their current learning needs. Blind children, on the other hand, who have had some visual experiences, which typically facilitate the teaching of many skills.
Deaf-blindness refers to a student who has both a hearing and visual disabilities. IDEA defines the term as “concomitant [simultaneous] hearing and visual impairments, the combination of which causes such severe communication and other developmental and educational needs that they cannot be accommodated in special education programs solely for children with deafness or children with blindness” (U.S. Department of Education, 2004). The Special Education Guide (2015) provided the following additional definition:
Deaf-blindness does not necessarily mean complete losses. The term actually describes a person who has some degree of loss in both vision and hearing. The amount of loss in either vision or hearing will vary from person to person. (para. 2)
Students with deaf-blindness struggle with access to the general core academic curriculum, as well as communicating, organizing, or exhibiting adaptive or self-help skills and/or mobility.
Traumatic Brain Injury
A teacher should understand that a child returning to school after a traumatic brain injury will fatigue easily and have a short attention span. The student’s program may include special consideration such as providing frequent breaks, focus academic instruction during peak performance periods, providing frequent rest opportunities and, if needed, accommodations or adaptations in academic work load. Similar to students with intellectual disabilities and autism spectrum disorder, teachers should provide clear, consistent, and uncomplicated instructions that break multistep instructions into simplified steps and sequence, and pair auditory with visual supports. Specific modifications and/or adaptations should be made based on the individualized needs of the student and based on multiple sources of evidence. For example, a student who has problems with memory and organization might need a specially designed instruction that is provided in a specially designed setting at the beginning of the day where an instructional adult helps the student plan the day’s schedule and keep track of assignments.
Talented and Gifted
Talented and Gifted is not an IDEA category unless it is also identified with an SLD. Special Education is necessary for children when their physical attributes and/or learning abilities differ from the norm to such an extent that an individualized program of special education is required to meet their needs. Just as the traditional curriculum is often inappropriate for the child with a disability, it also can be inadequate for the student who is talented and gifted. The traditional curriculum may not provide the kinds of challenges the gifted student may require. In cases when the traditional classroom curriculum lacks the challenges needed, specialized instructional approaches may be needed.
AIM. (2015). Autism internet modules. Retrieved from
Autism Live. (2015). Autism diagnosis criteria in the dsm-v. Retrieved from
CDC. (2015). Autism spectrum disorder: Data & statistics. Retrieved from
Special Education Guide. (2015). Deaf-blindness. Retrieved from
U.S. Department of Education (2004). Building the legacy: IDEA 2004: Regulations 300.8.c.2. Retrieved from