Intellectual Disabilities In Middle Schools

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While obtaining observation hours for ASHA, I had the privilege of viewing therapy sessions of students at Oscar Smith Middle School. I never had the opportunity of meeting children with disabilities personally until I began my observation hours. During a treatment session, two young ladies with Intellectual Disability (ID) captured my attention and changed my perspective on the part Speech Language Pathologists (SLP) play in providing these students with the critical skills to communicate with their special and general education instructors and others they may encounter through their environment. Witnessing the middle school students’ interactions with their SLP and myself gave me a glance at the rewarding aspects
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Two researched based journal articles offer therapy techniques which benefit students with intellectual disabilities. The first article, describes a functional curriculum which aims in strengthening practical skills students with ID need to become independent in society such as shopping, cooking, directions, and ordering food (TEXTBOOK). During the therapy session with the two young girls, the SLP went over map reading and how to understand directions. According to the SLP, the exercise was aimed to assist the two students in case they were ever lost and needed to follow directions on a map. Unfortunately, those who have intellectual disabilities have difficulty with obtaining employment, adjusting to their life post schooling, and living independently. Thus, including these functional techniques in middle school can help them effectively transition into adult life. The second technique known as instructive feedback can teach students with intellectual disabilities more information about a target topic (TEXTBOOK). An example of instructive feedback begins with a student reading the word “directions,” the teacher gives positive verbal reinforcement and then adds information to the word stating, “if you get lost you can ask for directions from a map to find your way home.” According to ------, studies have shown that instructive feedback helps students with ID learn additional information without overlooking target information (Olivia Loughery, T., Betz, A. M., Majdalany, L. M., & Nicholson, K. (2014). Using instructive feedback to teach category names to children with autism. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 45, 425–430.) As teachers, displaying positive reinforcement and instructive feedback helps all students with embedding categories and relationships in their stored
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