Teaching Exceptional Learners Essay

Teaching Learners with disabilityDisability is defined as any form of physical or mental impairment. The learners with disability therefore exhibit either physical or mental impairment, yet they have to be taught same content as their normal counterparts. Statistically, there are over 5% individuals who are disabled with over 2.8 million disabled learners receiving health education (Grosshans and Kiger, 2004). This remains a daunting challenge to health education practitioners to teach health principles to disabled learners.

In this line of thought that this paper shall explore teaching of this disabled category of learners. To start with shall be an understanding the nature learner, of which in my knowledge precedes designing and delivering health education instruction.The goal of health education is to educate learners on variety of health activities and concepts that provide learners with health skills such as nutrition, sexual education, communication, and diseases prevention. Focus of teachers or facilitators in such a program is on both product and process. In order for educator to ensure quality of instruction process and product, the educator must learn to work and identify him or herself with disabled learners as part of attitude change (Cavalier, 1998).

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In this regard, learning disability is referred to as learner’s neurological disorder (s) that hampers learner’s memory to process information in terms of coding, storage and retrieval that creates gap between performance and ability of this learner (Infoplease, 2004). Additionally, disabled learners usually exhibit social skills impairments that require the teacher to be keen and notice or they go undetected.According to Grosshans and Kiger, (2004) states that learners learning disability can be attributed to some known causes: heredity, pregnancy complications or child birth times, ethnic and poverty as an individual may lacks sufficient and necessary care during childhood phase.

These broad causes can lead to three major learning disabilities that qualify a learner as an exceptional learner: attention, auditory -processing and motor-sequencing impairments (Grosshans and Kiger, 2004). As a result of these impairments, disabled learners as opposed to their able counterparts experience various obstacles to effective health education.Obstacles to effective health education of clients with disabilitiesClients with disabilities are usually faced with various obstacles to effective health education. This obstacles that inhibit their access to health wellness education can be seen well in terms of the society and its structures responsible for educating disabled persons and the behavior of the disabled persons them selves. As a result, individuals with learning disabilities fail to obtain effective health education in integration with health their own and societal forces limitations.

First, Cavalier (1998) states that the health education section has inadequate educators to teach and train disabled learners. This is attributed to low value attached to special education as many professionals shy away from this field of study to produce sufficient expatriates.Secondly, the society has had a long history of negative stereotyping and attitudes, stigmatizing, and discriminating the disabled individuals in the society (Infoplease, 2004; Grosshans and Kiger, 2004). Therefore, these negative labels attached to disabled often hinder development, advocacy, and propagation of their agenda especially in terms of study materials, teachers, legislation, and funding. It is evident that there are as many materials, funds, experts and political will directed towards able persons than disabled who perhaps need more help.

Thirdly, the disabled persons on their part they are limited in the sense that to effective wellness education due to their self limiting behaviors that are partly influenced by their surrounding environment. Fourth, many disabled persons usually lack knowledge or information on available opportunities for health promotion activities due to their segregation in the society and lack of linking organizations (Infoplease, 2004). Fifth, disabled persons are unable to access effective health education as a result of the inadequate channels for individual’s empowerment as there are always little options provided for disabled persons to follow.Health Education Principles for clients with disabilitiesHealth wellness sector in conjunction with the Public Health Sector has for the last decades provided health related services that are essential to aiding disabled persons to live independently health wise. However, health education providers have placed much effort on developing and establishing new services rather than how the disabled person can access information and services that are developed for them. In addition to that studies show that disabled individuals have unsatisfactory experience when seeking or obtaining information in public domain (Cavalier, 1998). Therefore, health education principles are a vital tool of design to enhancing disabled person to obtain best health wellness knowledge.

Health education principles vital for persons with disability include:  first, health education promotes leaner’s resistance health threats through teaching of the consumer sciences, physical education (P.E), health, and family life. This first principle encompasses (Infoplease, 2004): nutrition; household management; careers and employment; consumer awareness; using technology; parenting, development of children and family life; and resource and environmental management. While on the other hand P.E shall provide for physical, social, and cognitive development of an individual.            Second, health education teaching to disabled persons enriches learning of essential health practice and concepts. Third, the learners experience in terms of ideas and interests are key to active health education learning. The learner involvement is a central to success of the health education program.

This is vital from an educational pedagogy perspective in the sense that design of the program should be learner centered and resource based, in order for the learner to own knowledge gained rather than impose on him or her. Fourth, success of health education requires collaboration of all stakeholders in the learning program such as schools, non-profit organizations, and government (Cavalier, 1998). Fifth, health education program should take into account the diversity of the learners involved. And the sixth, health wellness program aims at long term goals of learning or lifelong learning which is inclusive at every educational level for disabled persons (Infoplease, 2004).

These principles constitute best practices in health education in integration with the health of disabled.Effective education plan for clients with disabilitiesAn effective health education plan for the clients with disability should encompass useful dimensions such as commitment to excellence and equity; respect for diversity in perception, communication and learning;  willingness to reflect and investigate relationship and patterns of learns ideas; enhance sense of interdependency; and acceptance of responsibility. However, an effective plan for health education for disabled clients shall involve six main domains.

First, the learning design should involve the learners from the beginning of the program to an end. This is to ensure, program is learner centered and resource based to foster high knowledge retention rates and easy implementation. Second, program presentation should be through wide range of media like projectors, charts, maps, peer-tutoring, group discussion, and explaining points in details with respect to topic being presented (Cavalier, 1998; King and Fulk, 2001).

Third, the program content should ensure that it caters or meet the need of the specific disabled learner to enhance relevancy and attention for learning and applying the content. Fourth, the information provided should have a defined responsibility as most disabled are confused or lack confidence in terms of validity and relevancy in various sources of information. Thus, there is need to clearly identify and allocate the learning resources such as brochures and literature for the blind that disabled persons is associated with. Lastly, there should be an evaluation of the program progress and learners impact according to the learner’s capacity (Infoplease, 2004).ConclusionIn conclusion the paper has discussed the concept and practice that inform teaching of disabled learners in context of health wellness. In the discourse of discussion, the paper has discussed learning disability to inform the teaching principles formulation, Obstacles to effective health education of clients with disabilities, Health Education Principles for clients with disabilities and Effective education plan for clients with disabilities. However, the key issue remains to be validity and relevancy of the instruction design for teaching health education to disabled persons in relation to learner centeredness employed.

ReferencesCavalier, A. (1998): Center for Teaching Effectiveness:  Retrieved on August 3, 2007, available at www.cte.udel.

edu/disabilities.htm#ARTICLES%20ON%20EDUCATIONALGrosshans, J. and Kiger, M. (2004): “Identifying and Teaching Children with Learning Disabilities in General Physical Education”: Journal of P.

E.R & D 76 (8), 38Infoplease (2004): Students with Disabilities. Retrieved on August 3, 2007, available at http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0779380.

htmlKing, K. & Fulk, M B. (2001): “CWPT at work”: Exceptional Children Teaching, 31(3), 50-54 


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