The notion of inclusionary classrooms within special education is one that has been explored extensively within the past decade. It is felt that children with special needs who are made an integral part of general education advance at a greater rate than their counterparts in special education. The researchers have examined this subject utilizing the positive outcomes, the process and influences of educational changes and the specific barriers to initiating and continuing inclusion. Purcell, Horn & Paliwer (2007) conducted a series of interviews and focus group discussion utilizing special education personnel as subjects. In their research they utilized varying case study methodology to address the initiation and sustenance of such programs. The groups which they utilized were very different in nature. In their case studies, they utilized factors such as the ability of the workers to engage in cooperative efforts and the extent to which they share a common vision, the way in which they utilized their key personnel as well as developing a framework on which the program can work. Surveys were administered utilizing factors such as: collaborative relationships, community influence, family, key personnel and organizational structure. It was determined that in all cases, these factors asserted a positive influence on the children in inclusionary classes. This body of research is important in that it was able to show the validity of the case study methodology at arriving at a clear and concise decision was to whether inclusion works in special education.
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Another promising method of teaching children with learning disabilities is one which involves peer-mediated instruction. Harper & Maheady (2007) utilized a case study approach in order to examine the efficacy of peer-mediated instruction within special education. They conducted case studies utilizing three very different programs in which peer-mediation was utilized. These programs varied in structure and instructional approaches but it was found that irrespective of the approach, the programs facilitated active engagement among the children, offered many opportunities for the students to respond to inquires, provided immediate reinforcement by correcting errors immediately, welcomed feedback on whether the response was appropriate or not and offered many elements which served to motivate the children. In addition to this, the authors offered guidelines on how to implement such a program as well as considerations which should be addressed. This body of research proved to be very helpful in that it was able to show varying case study methods and how they can be practically applied.
Long, MacBlain & MacBlain (2007) examined the notion of inclusionary education among teenaged students with dyslexia who resided in Northern Ireland. This study was conducted based on the notion that the number of case studies involving inclusion of teenagers has been limited. This study aimed to assist secondary-school teachers in providing support for their dyslexic students utilizing a strength-based model which is aimed as exploiting their strengths as a means of meeting the added needs of these students. An integral part case study involved the recognition of the stresses and frustration faced as a direct result of having special educational needs. It utilized an adaptive learning methodology and was able to arrive at clear and concise guidelines for meeting all of the needs of dyslexic teenagers.
Bateman (2007) examined the notion of compensatory education. In his case study, he examined whether private schools should be reimbursed for providing educational services for children within their schools when the same level of services are absent within the public school system. It relates to the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) act and examines a single case of a thirteen year old child whose Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) indicated that a certain set of services were needed in order to offer her the optimal set of circumstances for success. The public school in the area was unable to provide the level of service for her while the private school could for a great deal of money annually. The case study indicated that in order to make an informed decision, it is prudent that each of the cases be examined on an individual basis. This case really exemplifies the necessity for individual case studies as a valuable research tool in qualitative research.
Jones, Lignugaris-Kraft & Peterson (2007) examined the notion that there is a correlation between the demands placed on a student and their problematic behaviors. The authors set out to create a clear and concise body of research which determines the variables that influence the demands placed on students and their inability to engage in prosocial behaviors in light of very demanding activities. This body of research utilizes a case study design wherein the difficulty of the reading materials utilized was systematically changed in order to either slow the student’s down or to facilitate sounding out. The students were asked to read aloud and the exhibition of problematic behaviors was examined in correlation with the difficulty of the materials. This body of research is important in that it was able to determine one of the factors that influence overt behavior.
Nowacek & Mamlin (2007) utilized the case study methodology to examine the understanding of general education teacher with regards to students with attention deficit/hyperactive disorder (ADHD). In their examination they were specifically looking for a conceptual understanding of the characteristics of individuals with this condition. The aim of this body of research was to discern the level of academic and behavioral modifications necessary to assure an optimal learning environment for the individual sufferers. The findings of this study indicated that the teachers were not cognizant of the implications of the characteristics of individuals with this disorder and as direct results, they teachers made very few modifications. Additionally, in cases where modifications were made, those modifications were very individualized. This case study was very instrumental in pointing out the need for general education teachers to be cognizant of the dynamics of disorders within their student population.
Halle & Meadan (2007) conducted a case study of five young children with autism with the goal of arriving at a clear and concise protocol for assessing requests for services, rejecting, and correcting the behaviors of young children who suffer from autism. Additionally, they aim to establish a guideline for prosocial behavior. The findings of the study illustrated that there was a dire need for a conceptual basis on which the building of prosocial behaviors can begin. I feel that this study is important in that it illustrates that individuals with autism can integrate seamlessly into society and can be taught to only engage in prosocial behaviors.
Xu (2007) examined the notion that there is a great disparity in the provision of early intervention special education services of minority children. This disparity is evident in the fact that many of the services are rendered in a culturally incompetent manner. The researchers conducted a case study utilizing culturally diverse families with children with disabilities as study subjects. The aim of the case study is to establish a scientific exploration of the disparity in the level of services and to offer a clear and concise method of empowering families with special needs children. The research delineated a strength-based model the authors referred to as the double ABCX model. This model was operationally defined as an adaptive model for family functioning in light of stressors. This body of research was particularly useful in that it was able to resort to a case study to answer a complex question.
MacLeod & Johnston (2007) conducted a single case study of a young lady who was suffered from Asperger syndrome. This particular young lady wrote and spoke openly about her condition and the need for support. The authors focused on the need for group discussion and support for young women afflicted with this ailment. The authors utilized a self-reporting scale and essentially assessed the difficulties faced by one individual. As a direct result of the self-report, the authors were able to see the necessity for supportive services rendered in a group setting. It is prudent to point out that this body of research is very lacking in that it utilizes only one case. This case may not be typical of other individuals who suffer from this disorder as such, its utility as both a reliable and valid measure of individuals with this disability is extremely limited. As a method of qualitative research, a single case study offers the lowest degree of reliability and validity.
Mattie & Kozen (2007) utilized case studies as a means of assessing the behavioral states of individuals within the special education program based on the information contained in their Individual Education Programs (IEPs). In their investigation they attempted to establish whether the IEPs were effective in minimizing negative behaviors. The findings indicated that the IEPs served as an effective tool for the measuring of behaviors as well as the establishment of corrective action. Based on the results of this series of case studies, the authors have determined that it is vital for special education teachers to incorporate an understanding of the child’s behavioral states in the consideration of daily planning especially for individuals with multiple disabilities. This case study was very effective in that it utilized children with a wide variety of disabilities as well as children with multiple disabilities. It does show one of the positive aspects of the case study methodology—the ability to gather anecdotal data and impact changes based on that data.
- Bateman, D.F. (2007). Compensatory Education. Teaching Exceptional Children. 39(6), 62-65.
- Halle, J. & Meadan, H. (2007). A protocol for assessing early communication of young children with autism and other developmental disabilities. Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 27(1), 49-52.
- Harper, G.F. & Maheady, L. (2007). Peer-Mediated teaching and students with learning disabilities. Intervention in School & Clinic. 43(2), 101-107.
- Jones, M.M., Lignugaris-Kraft, B. & Peterson, S.M. (2007). The relation between task demands and student behavior problems during reading instruction: A case study. Preventing School Failure. 51(4), 19-29.
- Long, L., MacBlain, S. & MacBlain, M. (2007). Supporting students with dyslexia at the secondary level: An emotional model of literacy. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 51(2), 124-135.
- MacLeod, A. & Johnston, P. (2007). Standing out and fitting in: a report on a support group for individuals with Asperger syndrome using a personal account. British Journal of Special Education, 34(3), 83-89.
- Mattie, H.D. & Kozen, A.A. (2007). Consideration of Behavior States and Patterns in IEP Development and Daily Planning: A Multiple Case Study Approach Involving Students with Multiple Disabilities. Education & Training in Developmental Disabilities, 42(1), 38-47.
- Nowacek, E.J & Mamlin, N. (2007). General Education Teachers and Students With ADHD: What Modifications Are Made? Preventing School Failure. 51(3), 28-36.
- Purcell, M.L., Horn, E. & Paliwer, S. (2007). A qualitative study of the initiation and continuation of preschool inclusion programs. Council for Exceptional Children. 74(1), 85-99.
- Xu, Y. (2007). Empowering Culturally Diverse Families of Young Children with Disabilities: The Double ABCX Model. Early Childhood Education Journal. 34(6), 431-438.