If every child has special needs, what are special needs children? Cade is a special needs child. Cade is also an energetic, loving, friendly, and helpful to his fellow students. The school that he attends has a program called “Getting Caught in the Act” whereby students are rewarded if they are caught in the act of doing something good. Cade plays with Legos, licks the frosting off of the cupcake, can beat just about any video game and regularly “gets caught in the act” at his school. He is like any other child except that Cade has Williams Syndrome (Gorton). Cade is also mainstreamed into general education classes and will someday be fully included with the rest of his peers where he belongs.
While the terms mainstreaming and
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In the past, students who were physically or mentally disabled were often sent to special schools or institutions and shuttered away from traditional education institutions. Students with special needs or labeled as “learning disabled” were segregated to institutions or “special education classrooms.” “The movement of disabled students from institutionalization to public school – from isolation to segregation – may be dated from about 1910 with the formation of permanent segregated classes in the public schools” (Winzer 367). Sadly, that practice had remained the standard until the late twentieth century.
There have been periods of great momentum; the 1940s may be considered a significant decade in special education. Improved conditions for all disabled individuals, for their teachers, and for their parents was a result of changing perceptions and commitment to exceptional students and their education during the war and postwar period (Winzer 372). The 1950s brought about even more sensitivities toward disabled persons. Expanded public school services for the mentally retarded were viewed as a civil right.
Not until the 1970s did the idea of “normalizing” become the ideology. “In general, society had shifted from qualitative to quantitative conceptions of exceptionality. The qualitative model holds that disabled individuals are different and deviant – they learn, perceive, and think in ways that are unlike the normal. The quantitative model views