The case study is devoted to 11-year-old twins Mark and Matthew Russ who are mentally challenged and educable. They study at the Dunn Middle School where they are placed in self-contained classrooms. Their parents are dissatisfied with the academic progress of the twins and are especially concerned with their speech that is being mocked by other children; Mr. and Mrs. Russ notice that their children are hurt by this mockery. The parents are supportive, but their only long-term goal for the children is for them to be able to work in the future.
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Would an Inclusive Environment Be Beneficial?
Self-contained classrooms are aimed at helping children with disabilities that are impairing their learning abilities to a considerable extent; also, the children often have adaptive issues. Individual solutions and approaches are used in such classrooms, and they are mostly aimed at the development of functional skills (James, 2008, p. 55). Self-contained classrooms may occasionally be regarded as a controversial solution, in particular, due to the Least Restrictive Environment agenda (James, 2008, p. 34). However, self-contained classroom phenomenon does not contradict the agenda; rather, it receives the goal of preparing a child to more inclusive environments by gradually increasing the time of his or her presence in such settings.
In other words, the increase in the inclusive environment presence of the Russ boys is probably one of the aims of their teacher. However, this aim needs to be achieved carefully by finding an individual scheme of the process, which is a requirement for working with children in self-contained classrooms. Also, the teacher needs to take into account the speech issue and the lack of acceptance that is exhibited by the Dunn Middle children. Here, the teacher may work on the children’s speech, especially if the boys are as interested in it as their father, which is likely since they get offended because of their peers’ mockery. However, the school may and should assist as well by affecting children’s’ disability awareness as described below.
Could Parents Do More?
The parents have likely been provided with extensive information on the special learning abilities of their children; if not, they must be provided with it. Their disappointment is understandable, and it does not appear to prevent them from being supportive and caring, but they probably need to be comforted, and the suggestion of solutions and helpful activities that they can personally implement should improve their confidence. Also, since the speech problem is the main one that they are concerned with, it is logical to provide them with tips on resolving it. Talking and listening with the boys can help, but it should not be a forced activity.
As a result, the technique that is probably the most obvious, beneficial, and applicable is speech games: they can provide the parents and children with an opportunity to practice speech and also spend time together while having fun. Fun is an important element of the games; while the parents do not appear to be perfectionists, it may be important to remind them that the aim of the activities does not consist of making the twins skilled orators. The case study does not specify the exact speech problem, which is why the content of the games should be customized, but their general types include, for example, listing, sound imitation, repetition, rhymes and songs, and other options (Ripley, Barrett, & Fleming, 2013, pp. 65-66, 72, 100). The parents may be encouraged to be creative if they feel like it; also, they can and should be involved in the choice of the games: they are likely to be more familiar with the preferences of their children, and it may help them to feel more engaged in caring for the boys.
Can Dunn Middle School Promote Acceptance of the Boys?
The Dunn Middle School definitely can and should attempt to improve the acceptance of children with disabilities among its students. Such an attitude is unlikely to be directed only towards the Russ boys, which implied that the intervention should involve the entire school. As a result, the aim would probably consist of the development of an inclusive environment, which is not an easy matter and is likely to take some time.
Disability awareness lessons for middle school do exist, and they are aimed at increasing children’s knowledge about diversity, dismantling stereotypes, and promoting the development of a respectful environment (Kempe, 2012). The specific techniques can vary; for example, Kempe (2012) discusses drama projects for middle school. The idea is based on the theory that the representation of diversity helps to develop awareness. For example, one such project focused on media representations, and to help the children, the teacher created a “class contract” with the rules that facilitated the development of a respectful, mindful attitude.
The selection of the school-level approach and specific lesson plans and kits should be informed by teachers. The intervention is lengthy, and to help the twins specifically, it may be reasonable to begin the campaign in the environments where the boys tend to appear. Given the problem, they probably do interact with the rest of the children at a point. However, in the end, it may be reasonable to embed the awareness lessons into the school’s regular curriculum to ensure the development of an inclusive environment at the Dunn Middle.
|Standards and Key Concepts|
|Unit of Study (1)||English|
|Grade Level (1)||Fifth grade (mentally disabled, self-contained classroom).|
|Standards (3)|| |
|IEP Objectives (5)||The case study does not dwell on the boy’s performance. The specific parameters should be inserted instead of (n). |
The long-term goal for them consists of improving the boys’ speech (by raising intelligibility and phrase length based on their current performance that is not mentioned in the case study) and reading performance (measured in words per minute and the mistakes made). Also, there will be a written communication activity (homework). The parents state that the boys do not exhibit improvement in a meaningful way, but the activities will need to be adjusted to the school-measured performance.
|Materials needed (1)||Appropriate reading material (depending on the boys’ undefined performance) on a suitable topic (for example, occupations, cooking, environment, modern technology, and so on). The topic should be incorporated into the curriculum.|
|Activating Strategy or |
Advanced Organizer (2)
|I Do |
|We Do |
Guided Practice (2)
|You Do |
Independent Practice (2)
|Check for Understanding, |
Error Correction/Feedback (2)
|Summarizing Strategy |
|Assessment (1)|| |
|Adaptations/Special Considerations (3)|| |
|Extending and Refining (2)|| |
|Resources (1)|| |
Madeline Hunter’s lesson plan. (n.d.).
Madeline Hunter’s lesson plan. (n.d.). Web.
James, A. (2008). School success for children with special needs. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Ripley, K., Barrett, J., & Fleming, P. (2013). Inclusion for children with speech and language impairments. London: David Fulton.
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Kempe, A. (2012). Drama, Disability, and Education. Hoboken: Taylor and Francis.