Students with disabilities are viewed as a minority group and their perception is socially and culturally conditioned. It is important for educators to understand such students and create a proper behavior towards them. Educators with the help of family and community support are prone to help students with disabilities in order to feel themselves comfortable in the world. There are students with different ways of disabilities, but all of them are supposed to live and function in society. The educators` goal is to discover the potential and power in students` lives in order to cultivate the abilities and the strengths they have. Unfortunately, disabled students often face different challenges, because their special needs may be ostracized by those, who share negative vision to them. Therefore, their rights are protected by laws. Thus, legislation and litigation have guaranteed protection and support of persons with special needs (Heward, 2009). Educators use special laws teaching students with disabilities, based on their attitudes, values and beliefs. The goal of educators is to support these students in their struggle for survival and acceptance of a decent life in society.
People have different attitudes in life, which are based on personal feelings, a viewpoint or a mind-set. Attitude can be bad or good, and it helps people to form reciprocal relationships during environmental experiences. It is rather important to have positive attitude in life in order to feel comfortable in society and environment. According to the research, students with disabilities oftentimes may have negative attitude in life, because they realize that they are not able to act in ways to others` expectations and, actually, cannot share standards in life that most are accustomed to (Mostert & Crockett, 2000). They expect others to invite them in their life and give them physical and moral support in order to adopt in society. This support may be very important for them in order to fulfill their expectations and improve self-esteem. Individuals with disabilities have to be strong to be accepted by society and their peers. Educators, who are working with students with disabilities, must help them in their efforts. Nowadays, the government pays a great attention to persons with disabilities to prevent negative behavior of people upon them and protect them by law.
The research asserts that, teachers` perception and attitude upon this category of students have changed into better. Though there are still a lot of challenges facing teachers, educators are doing their best to increase standards and accountability for students` everyday performance (Curtis, 1993). The current educational climate shows that most teachers are prone to deal with students with different kinds of disabilities. In order to organize a proper special education process, teachers tend to support students in their surviving. It is, therefore, important to spend more efforts to make feel these students comfortable in the environment and cultivate a positive attitude in life. Educators have all the opportunities to create friendly relationships between schools and persons with disabilities. It is worth mentioning that educators would have better results in their work if they stay in contact with parents and families of students with disabilities. The research shows that many parents need help in order to better communicate with their children and help them psychologically. Only well-experienced teachers, who have their own positive attitudes in life, may help children with disabilities.
Thus, the research clearly demonstrates that a lot have been done by teachers, community and society to change situation with students with disabilities into better in order to help them create a positive attitude in life and feel comfortable and protected in the environmental performance. Hopefully, this process will not stop in the future, what may give more opportunities for persons with disabilities to live a happy life.
Legislation and Litigation
During the history people and society have changed their attitude towards individuals with disabilities. Therefore, not only teachers and parents were responsible for the lives of students with disabilities. The available research shows that in the past there were educational practices that excluded children with disabilities from general education. Therefore, most of these children have to stay at home and live a life without hope. Nowadays the situation has been changed due to legislation and litigation. From the beginning of the 17th century many scholars began to struggle societal acceptation of students with disabilities, supporting them in their struggle for survival. It is worth mentioning such scholars, who made a great contribution in the improvement of educational practices with students with disabilities, as Phillipe Pinel, who was the first to use kindness and respect with persons with mental illness (Curtis, 1993). Jean-Marc Gaspard Itard, Eduoard Seguin, Samuel Gridley Howe and some others made a great contribution in the establishment of the new approach to the individuals with disabilities and their education (Mostert & Crockett, 2000). Due to the efforts of these pioneers, the situation in education with students with disabilities was changed into better.
The research asserts that the situation with education of children with disabilities started to change in the courts in 1954, when schools began to be responsible to teach children with different opportunities, including those with disabilities. In 1972, the law was adopted according to which schools must educate students with disabilities. This process was not easy, because teachers, parents and students had to change their thinking, attitudes and approach to the individuals with disabilities. From then, all teachers have to treat and educate children with disabilities with respect, compassion and commitment, otherwise they could face court actions. Therefore, teachers were supposed to change their thinking, and that was not easy.
The civil rights act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (1973), was the first step of the United States legislation upon recognition of equal rights of students with disabilities. This act prevented discrimination against individuals with disabilities. This was the law, which gave the definition of disabilities and mandated the rights to a proper education of all children with disabilities. Under this law, teachers need to know their responsibilities and duties. This law has been reauthorized in a series of amendments through 2004 and it is successfully used till now (Heward, 2009). In every institutional affiliation there are related services and special discipline procedures that keep under control the educational process of students with disabilities. Most teachers accept the law as the guidance to their work, and it helps them to act positively and effectively in their educational practice.
During my first personal encounter with a person with disability (mental), my initial response was rather controversial. I felt that I was lack of experience to communicate with such people. I must admit that I was a little bit scared, because I did not know much how to behave, but after a while I realized that I have enough courage to be kind and passionate to people with disabilities, especially children. Now there are no difficulties for me to stay in friendly relationships with individuals with disabilities because I am sure that I am strong enough to help these students to feel comfortable in the school environment and help them to survive in life.
Individuals with special needs are protected by legislation and litigation. Educators and special education provide them hope and opportunities to be treated as equal individuals in society. Having positive attitudes and protection of the government.
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