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Sociology Essay: Reflection on the Impact on Children with Disabilities

Question

Task: Prepare a reflective sociology essay illustrating the impact on children with disabilities.

Answer

The present sociology essay is focused on the concept of disabilities among children which have been considered as a negative stigma in history. This is evident in the reading highlighted by Rapp and Arndt (2012) such as “I would hate to reside with individuals with a disability” or “Oh, that’s so sad”. Both the statements highlight the human tendencies that deal with the disabilities of the individuals considering it as a pitiful and horrible situation or a combination of both. In a religious context, it has been found that a disabled individual born is a punishment from God as they have done something wrong or they deserve it (Rapp & Arndt, 2012). On the other hand, Braddock (2002) highlighted that the middle-aged adults residing with characteristics are considered to be “bad” or “evil”. For instance, an individual diagnosed with epilepsy, intellectual disability, or deaf is viewed negatively as being possessed by demons (Rapp & Arndt, 2012). Moreover, the film industry that portrays disabilities as strange and dangerous has been observed in varied films such as “Edward Scissorhands” (Burton, 1990) and “Hook” (Spielberg, 1991).

In this context, I can say that as a pre-service teacher, I enjoy the films because of their uniqueness and because of their positive messages being put forward. The examples of policies, varied models of disability, pedagogy as well as the effect on the children with disabilities will be discussed. This will make me more knowledgeable and thus it will assist my way of approaching and supporting the children and families with disabilities for the achievement of inclusive education.

In general, there exist varied standpoints of disabilities in youths and individuals. However, all viewpoints generally portray a false image thereby leading to misconception and fear among disabled individuals (Rapp & Arndt, 2012). The different types of models such as medical, social, pity/charity, minority and the ICF model forwarded by the World Health Organisation (WHO) tries to forward improved perspective as an insight to the meaning of disability and how it can be used effectively in the inclusion practices to assist the youths. The existence of the medical model has been since the 19th century and thus it continued to be the same as it is today. However, the critique of the model highlighted disability as sickness or problematic. Moreover, the model also illustrated how individuals with disabilities undergo varied forms of treatment to lead a healthy life (Dunn & Andrew, 2015). The practitioners adopting this model utilize language that can be considered to be aggressive when highlighting a disabled individual. The other examples of disability include the deaf-mutes, the retarded, the freebie minded, the spastics that are used to highlight the impairment of the patients ((Dunn & Andrews, 2015). It is necessary to recognize the sickness of the individuals at the initial instance rather than the individuals according to their impairment and thus becomes an object with no such respect (Dunn & Andrews, 2015). The practicians or the teachers motivated by this often observe that the student’s disability needs to be aided or fixed. It is important to reflect on this model and when it is used in proper context, it can assist the individuals accordingly such as funding when the school capacity budget does not allow for further aids. As compared to the social model, it is necessary to recognize the disability as ordinary phase of an individual’s characteristics rather than a sickness. This disability is known as the social construct of disability that helps to find out appropriate solutions for overcoming the internal and the external factors along with the social barriers to assist individuals to function properly among the community (Rapp & Arndt, 2012). Further, the social-cultural theory forwarded by Vygotsky stated that the primary disability (organic impairment) limits acquiring the social knowledge skills when the social factors such as social barriers are not addressed properly delaying the process (Dixon &Verenikina, 2007).

Individuals with intellectual disabilities generally are more prone to develop different types of behavioural characteristics like dependence, inactiveness, and lack of improper skills due to inadequate socio-cultural knowledge (Dixon &Verenikina, 2007). On the other hand, Gindis (1999) have stated that remediation of the secondary disability, as well as change of the social attitudes, are considered to be important for special educators. To develop this changing attitude, consideration of the language is essential. On the other hand, the pity/charity model emphasizes disability as a terrible aspect i.e. pitiful, and needs to be saved (Rapp & Arndt, 2012). This model is also considered to be effective for the generation of funds among disabled individuals that are known as muscular dystrophy. This also focuses on the notion of empathy, making the individuals feel pity and thus donating some money for goodwill or charity. The professionals such as the teachers or the medical professionals that utilize this model often feel motivated in goodwill without considering the confidence of the patients/pupils in general. This also causes disconnection in the development of a strong relationship of trust (Rapp & Arndt, 2012). The minority model focuses on disability being neutral and positive as well as a crucial part of human attributes (Dixon &Verenikina, 2007). The model also introduces that the nature of the disabled individuals that belongs to the same cultural groups forms a community (Dunn & Andrews, 2015). Altman (2001) highlighted that the minority model of disability considered varied demographic characteristics such as sexual orientation, race as well as a disability that is to be valued and embraced in one’s identity (Dunns & Andrews, 2015).

Another important model of disability includes the ICF model by WHO, the goal of which is to recognize the strength of the individual that does not consider the ability as self-failing or sickness. However, it considers the means of assisting other individuals to pose a functional life. In this model, there has been an examination of the varied models of disability that lays an impact on the life of the individual through restriction and limitations. An example can be cited of the activity limitation such as the everyday bathing care, the communication, and the trouble of learning. There might be different types of restrictions linked to participation in the varied life activity roles such as employment and attending the schools (Dunns & Andrews, 2015). There is a need for consistent improvement to assist individuals with disabilities. In this situation, I as a future educator must consider the person as a human being thereby asserting their needs and requirements. There does not exist any such model that will fit all individuals.

Although the language is considered to be important in dealing with varied circumstances, it is likely to assist me in the development of understanding and relationships that will help in the growth of the pupil’s bond and the trust in my ability for the development of unbiased education. The effectiveness of these models when applied tochild's education and family is likely to greater impact. According to the ICF model, educators generally consider this as the starting point for inclusive education. This is to be recognized under the ICF model where disability is considered as the social, personal, and environmental factors affecting the participation and limiting the activity (Dunns & Andrews, 2015). Moreover, the modification could not be made in these models to suit the needs; the examples of this include access to the learning resources or the equipment that is essential to help the children (Cologon, 2014). The buildings were constructed and they could be provided with easy access by removing the stairs or addition the ramps. However, all these considerations need to be planned at the initial instance considering the school.

Cologon (2014) stated that the use of proper terms and language played a considerable role and thus the teachers, communities, and the families must familiarise themselves with the terminologies that affect the self-esteem of the children.

This can be considered to be normal to some individuals and abnormal to others. With the help of labelling an activity or action as dehumanizing can be considered to be normal when the expectation of execution is not fulfilled thereby being hurtful to the child psychologically. On the other hand, Connor & Stalker (2007) opined that disabled children are the same as others as they experience the same level of emotion as others. The use of inappropriate language demotivates them thereby causing negative experiences such as tiredness and frustration. The word “special” triggers discomfort among the children thereby developing a situation of discrimination, segregation, and isolation (Cologon, 2014). The varied case studies stated in Cologan (2014) highlighted that most individuals who are not children tried to highlight themselves as capable and helpful despite the varied differences.

The educators at the special school differentiated the pupils as “walkers” and “wheelchairs” where the pupils responded to themselves by stating themselves as sad and unnecessary, thereby considering unnecessary to be categorized because they are similar to others even with their physical impairments (Colgon, 2014). In this situation, I, as a pre-service teacher must be aware of the varied social construct affecting the well-being of the individuals linked with inclusive education. There should be proper usage of the terminologies and thus this is possible by showing mutual respect to the students and motivating others to do the same. Communication can be considered to be important for the establishment of a bond between the teachers and the students to achieve inclusive education.

For the provision of inclusive education, I need to understand the definite method or the answer that is important to achieve this by being aware of the current policies, the practices, and the pedagogy that serves as the essential resource in fulfilling the goals. According to the Salamanca Statement, all children irrespective of intellectual, physical, social, emotional, and linguistic care are eligible for education (UNESCO, 1994). With the help of implementation of the proper guideline, Australian educators will be able to transit themselves into inclusive practices within the school. All these changes are observed in 2004 when the Australian Government has reviewed the Disability Standards for Education (DSFE) thereby undergoing the changes that are essential for inclusive practices in the classroom rather than the segregation approach (Forlin, 2006). This also includes the development of clear obligations on the enrolment, participation, the development of curriculum, the delivery, and student support services, eliminating harassment, and victimizing the disabled children (Forlin, 2006).The varied support policies include the Early Learning Year Framework – Belonging, being and becoming [EYLF] that covers the five learning outcomes catering towards the youths with varied diversity as well as the acknowledgment of inclusivity for setting higher expectations and equity because of the learning impairment (DET, 2019). The Australian Curriculum also includes the different models and the culture of learning providing disciplinary support to the disabled including the inclusive practices (ACARA, 2015).

Pedagogy can be considered to be important for assisting students to achieve inclusive education. The use of strength-based pedagogy is likely to enhance the knowledge of the students thereby providing them confidence and motivation in their learning journey. The strength-based approach strives on the position of improved attributes of the students. This strength can be used as a base for the development of prior knowledge. All these approaches generally strive on the students that come from their mentors and other individuals in the community. The teacher who utilizes the strength-based approach along with other strategies can assist the students to learn more and thus become competent in their subject matter (Fenton et al., 2015). The planning outcomes can be adjusted based on the competence level of the students thereby using theoretical works such as Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development that allows the teacher to support the learning process and setting the goals thereby making challenges to fulfil the learning (Dixon &Verenikina, 2007). According to me, strength-based pedagogy can be considered to be helpful as no particular size is effective for all and the learning rate of every student differs. The different materials within me have motivated me to support comprehensive education, though it is not easy. However, as a teacher, I believe that it is important to be equipped with the proper knowledge to assisting the students concerning impairment or no impairment. Therefore, there should be a proper understanding of the policies and the pedagogies of the family-oriented culture and the social environment which is essential to support inclusive education. ?

References
Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority [ACARA]. (2015). Meeting the needs of disability students. Retrieved 02 September 2021, from https://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/resources/student-diversity/meeting-the-needs-of-students-with-a-disability/

Cologon, K. (2014).More than a label?The power of language. In K. Cologon (Ed.), Inclusive education in the early years: right from the start (pp. 49-69). South Melbourne: Oxford University Press.

Department of Education and Training [DET]. (2019). Belonging, Being & Becoming – The Early Years Learning Framework for Australia.Sociology essay Retrieved 02 September 2021, from https://docs.education.gov.au/node/2632

Dixon, R. M., &Verenikina, I. (2007). Towards Inclusive Schools: An Examination of Socio-cultural Theory and Inclusive Practices and Policy in New South Wales DET Schools.Learning and Sociocultural Theory:Exploring Modern Vygotskian Perspectives International Workshop, 1(1), 192-208.

Dunn, D.S., & Andrews, E. E. (2015). Person-first and identity-first language: Developing psychologists’ cultural competence using disability language. American Psychologist, 70(3), 255-264.

Fenton, A., Walsh, K., Wong, S., & Cumming, T. (2015). Using strengths-based approaches in early years practice and research.International Journal of Early Childhood, 47(1), 27-52.

Forlin, C. (2006). Inclusive Education in Australia ten years after Salamanca.European Journal of Psychology of Education.21(3), 265-277.

Rapp, W. H., & Arndt, K. L. (2012).Teaching Everyone: An Introduction to Inclusive Education. Baltimore, MD. Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co.

UNESCO. (1994). The Salamanca Statement and Framework for Action on Special Needs Education.Retrieved 02 September 2021, from https://www.european-agency.org/sites/default/files/salamanca-statement-and-framework.pdf

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