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Special Needs for Special Populations


According to the Education Act 1993 and the Code of Practice it has been acknowledged that at any one time a possible 20 per cent of children may experience special educational needs during their school career. The majority of these children it was estimated would be in the mainstream sector and effective and early intervention should ensure that they will make progress without significant difficulty in the future. But for a smaller number of children (estimated to be around 2 to 3 per cent of the child population), special educational needs (sometimes linked to disabilities or physical or mental health problems) may be so significant that only intensive and often interagency assessment and intervention is likely to be effective. However in relation, there are two issue that needs to be addressed. They are collaboration and inclusion. In case of special populations, they may eventually feel that they are different and begin to feel inadequate. Therefore to avoid these feelings from developing, which can hinder their progress and learning, they need to be collaborated and included into the mainstream. Collaboration refers to teamwork and group activity. They need to made a part of a team so that they feel included, or a part of something.

One way to help the mainstream special need populations is to provide social support. Through guidance counselors as well as community help groups. They can be involved in clubs and groups that involve other special needs students and then help them to interact with the mainstream population.

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Appropriate tools and techniques and methods have to be used and although these students need extra care and special attention they need to know that they are not alien, rather special and that they can just as well as be involved with other students populations. This needs to be done so in conjunction with the familial support systems. Although research has demonstrated the general benefit of family support, little attention has focused on the various help-giving models and their relevance to specific families and children. Professionals' views on how best to address the needs of families vary widely, and help-giving behaviors that are intended to support families may actually have the opposite effect or damage the family-professional relationship.

It is reported through research that professionals sometimes cite the "best interests" of the family to excuse their own bias about communication


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methodology, providing selective information about

oral education, sign, or cued speech. Professionals need to understand the nature of their relationships with families and the behaviors that promote feelings of competence and decrease powerlessness.


The "professional as expert" model assumes that parents/caregivers lack knowledge and skills. Families are encouraged to rely on professionals for information and decisions. The "direct guidance" perspective views parents/caregivers as somewhat knowledgeable, but needing skills and services that the professional will determine and provide. In the "partnership model," the professional accepts family members as equal partners. This family-centered approach assumes that families themselves are capable of acquiring the information, resources, and support that will enable them to solve their own problems and to make choices to meet their family's needs. This view emerges from an empowerment perspective and has potential for long-term benefits: Relationships that encourage active family involvement enhance decision-making abilities. This family-centered partnership model is seen as most useful by professionals who have worked with many families and their young children The special attention that is needed involves greater care, attention, flexibility and communication. Generally help strategies need to be developed through professional guidance and the families of the special students need to be integrated into the programs that are developed.

References
1. Support services for families with children who are special: Challenges for professionals. {Topics in early Childhood, special education) Meadow-Orlans, Kathryn P.-Sass-Lehrer, Marilyn; 09-01-1995
2. Special Needs Education, Encarta Encyclopedia 1998.


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