Accommodating special needs students in classrooms

This federal legislation (originally designed to help Vietnam veterans), protects an individual's civil rights and guarantees nondiscrimination toward handicapped individuals, regardless of their ages.The American Disabilities Act of 1990 further protects these civil rights by requiring that reasonable physical accommodations be provided to remove barriers for handicapped individuals in the private sector: buildings, transportation, and communications.

Imagine a large, ostrich-sized hard-boiled egg sliced vertically and cleanly, revealing the thick outside protective shell, the egg's white cooked area, and the egg's solid yolk. This representational picture can be used to help people understand the relationships of all students in a school who range from the "regular" child with no handicapping condition or disability, to the student who is handicapped/disabled but who succeeds without special services, to the "substantially limited" student who needs some "accommodations," and to the student who needs which are called content "modifications."The egg's shell represents all the students in the school.

When working with children with developmental disabilities, teachers can accomplish a great deal by managing the learning environment proactively to prevent behavior problems and promote learning.

But identified students may also experience behavior or learning problems because they lack key skills (e.g., capacity to interact with other children in socially appropriate ways).

The egg yolk represents those children who also have some recognized or perceived circumstances and/or condition that substantially limits their learning.

They have been recommended to a school committee and approved for special environmental/physical accommodations in their school setting, under the 1973 Rehabilitation Act's Section 504 statute.

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