Research Paper on Working With Students with Mild/Moderate Disabilities

Paper Type:  Research paper
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1704 Words
Date:  2022-06-23


It is typical for every individual to make a choice daily. For students, as they transit through school, they can evaluate the effects of their decisions. However, this is not the case for the students with mild/moderate disabilities as they tend to experience a challenge in showcasing their decision-making skills. Many students with mild/moderate disabilities also have a failure in demonstrating the mastery of a particular skill in a subject such as math (Mastropieri, Scruggs, & Shiah, 1991). These students tend to respond poorly to problems inaccurately. For that reason, many institutions offering skills and instruction for students with moderate disabilities tend to focus more on strategies that can encourage the mastery of basic facts in a particular subject and skills instead of just solving presented challenges. These strategies include having a problem-solving approach, having a better approach to decision making, inclusive learning and using programming for independent study skills.

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A problem-solving approach to teaching various subjects such as math to students with mild disabilities has been adapted by various groups and programs including the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM, 1989). This does not only target students with mild students but is also favourable for all students. The approaches primarily involve identifying any five general mathematical goals for every student such as learning to value various subjects, developing confidence in one's ability to perform in a subject, being a particular subject problem-solver, and learning to either communicate or reason in the interesting subject. The bodies and campaigns usually revise the subjects while emphasizing the students to be active learners who can interact with their peers to solve any given problem at a particular time and evaluate their performance in the fields they are interested in (NCTM, 1991). The NCTM also calls for teachers to promote the performance in their subjects and understanding of certain learners including those with mild disabilities (Elliott & Garnett, 1994). The instructional settings offering the various approaches that encourage problem-solving tend to offer a good background for the improvement and development of a student's skills. According to the goals that are articulated by the various programs and campaigns, teachers can address the given goals within the context of a curriculum that engages students in learning such as mathematics through experimentation and general thinking about the existing mathematical problems ("Math Learning Disabilities").

The students with mild/moderate disabilities are disadvantaged in that they have various barriers that hinder the development of the various skills they could be having including their self-awareness, self-depreciation and lack of self-esteem (Field & Hoffman, 1994). According to Smyth & Bell (2006), making decisions is a basic part of life and is necessary especially for a change of situations in life and the entire quality of life. Therefore, institutions are starting to teach the decision-making skills directly with the intent of making their students evaluate decisions on their own. The main importance of this strategy is that it can enhance a positive educational and personal experience while increasing the opportunity for success in the school and out of school (Stang et al., 2009). This strategy mainly provides students with personal control and respect for the decisions they make (Wehmeyer, 2005). Many of these students involve students who suffer from speech impairment, autism and behavioural changes. When teachers need decision-making materials, they always tend to evaluate if they are suitable for a specific age and if they can be used by students with mild disabilities. The decision-making activities can be integrated into any classroom activity without having to apply a new curriculum. This makes a lot of teachers teach their desired content while also enhancing decision-making skills in the same environment hence enhancing the integration of class activities and self-determination of students especially those with mild disabilities (Field & Hoffman, 2002). One instance of this strategy is when teachers encourage their students to decide their sitting position at a classroom, how they would wish to do their classwork and decide their routine for their daily tasks. In doing so, these students with mild disability can gain a decision opportunity.

Another strategy that can be implemented for students with mild disabilities is inclusive learning. Many disabled students tend to miss various classes including physical education, learning an extra language and taking extra craft classes. This could be as a result of the attitude of their tutors towards them. However, the modern world has created a wide range of opportunities for teachers of students with mild disabilities including computer programs, iPads, and CD audios that are loaded with special learning applications, which can be assistive to many students (Hyde, Carpenter & Conway, 2010; "Tips and strategies", 2015; "Strategies for learning and teaching"). Again, the world has also brought with it better effective communication between the parent and the teacher and more group work, which enables students to connect with their peers, hence, enhancing their communication skills (Groundwater-Smith, Ewing & Le Cornu, 2010). Inclusive learning has been appreciated until it has reached a point where stigma is no longer being felt with students learning with a disability. Many teachers are now knowledgeable regarding inclusive learning as it is the cheapest way around to work with students with moderate disabilities (Foulis, 2016). Other tutors are finding the strengths in these students and their needs instead of finding them equal to the other regular student without a disability. For instance, students with a disability are given a chance to write on the board, such as writing the subject title or the date hence, making them feel an inclusion instead of having the feeling of being different from other students. Without their inclusion, students with disability cannot leave school and become successful people in life. Students without disabilities are now being desensitized by the stigma that surrounds the students with mild disabilities. It has been realized that their seclusion has led to their limitation of using public facilities. As soon as the students with disabilities are isolated from their non-disabled counterparts, they tend to develop a negative opinion and attitude towards school hence, making even teachers lose their expectations for the student. Having inclusive learning at various institutions can impact a student's psychological and emotional condition.

Finally, institutions can adapt the use of programming for independent study skills. Many students with mild disabilities tend to fail to complete their programs as soon as they are in their desired institutions, especially those requiring independent learning skills. Independent learning requires one to understand a strategy usage and have task persistence. Since many of these students drop out of school prematurely, they need to be motivated to pursue their tasks to completion even though hard. However, many students feel that their failures are a reflection of their disabilities. Math students with disabilities and who cannot solve simple mathematical problems can feel that their efforts are futile. For this reason, teachers need to distract their emotions regarding their disabilities and their feeling of self-efficacy and goal setting. This can be done through the study skills approach where students are taught to perform certain tasks in the areas of a written sentence, time management, taking notes and reading textbooks. Teachers ought to focus on many discrete skills or how to teach these skills. This can be made possible through the creation of 'strategic environments.' Through these environments, teachers can better interact with their students in ways that can promote their strategic thinking and behavior, which are encompassed in the independent action. Through the application of strategic environments, independence can be promoted through compatible supporting behaviors.


Implementing the various strategies including having a problem-solving approach, having a better approach to decision making, inclusive learning and using programming for independent study skills has an impact to making students with mild disabilities learn just like their peers. Even though teaching the disabled can create various challenges to the teachers and the institution, having them taught has an advantage to the institution, which gives a new perspective on the teaching methods ("Teaching Students with Special Needs", 2007). Students with mild disabilities need help in connecting their education to their real-life experiences and also in learning how to adjust their approach to education. Through these interventions, both teachers and students can benefit in distinct ways. Teachers may break learning into small steps, model their instructional practices easily, engage more with students and use more diagrams and pictures to augment whatever they are saying in words. On the other hand, disabled students cannot feel a sense of segregation, but can be advantaged in that they would integrate with their peers effectively upon acceptance.


Elliott, P., & Garnett, C. (1994). Mathematics power for all. In C. A. Thornton & N. S. Bley (Eds.), Windows of opportunity: Mathematics for students with special needs (pp. 3-17). Reston, VA: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics

Field, S., & Hoffman, A. (1994). Development of a model for self-determination. Career Development of Exceptional Individuals, 17, 159-169.

Field, S., & Hoffman, A. (2002). Preparing youth to exercise self-determination: Quality indicators of school environments that promote the acquisition of knowledge, skills, and benefits related to self-determination. Journal of Disability Policy Studies, 13, 113-118

Foulis, C. (2016). Inclusive Learning for Students with Disabilities. The Challenge of Teaching, 151-155. doi:10.1007/978-981-10-2571-6_21

Groundwater-Smith, S., Ewing, R., & Le Cornu, R. (2010). Teaching challenges and dilemmas. South Melbourne: Cengage Learning.

Hyde, M., Carpenter, L., & Conway, R. (Eds.) (2010). Diversity, inclusion and engagement (2nd ed.). South Melbourne: Oxford University Press.

Mastropieri, M. A., Scruggs, T. E.; & Shiah, S. (1991). Mathematics instruction for learning disabled students: A review of research. Learning Disabilities Research and Practice, 6, 89-98.

Math Learning Disabilities. (n.d.). Retrieved from Council of Teachers of Mathematics. (1989). Curriculum and evaluation standards for school mathematics. Reston, VA: Author.

National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. (1991). Professional standards for teaching mathematics. Reston, VA: Author.

Smyth, C. M., & Bell, D. (2006). From biscuits to boyfriends: The ramifications of choice for people with learning disabilities. British Journal of Learning Disabilities, 34, 227-236

Stang, K., Carter, E., Lane, K., & Pierson, M. (2009). Perspectives of general and special educators on fostering self-determination in elementary and middle school. Journal of Special Education, 43, 94-106.

Strategies for Learning and Teaching. (n.d.). Retrieved from Students With Intellectual Disabilities: Tips and Strategies. (2015, April 22). Retrieved from h...

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