Policies for the Differently Abled

Policies for the Differently Abled


One of the major populations that social workers might encounter with a disability is children. There are several groups of children living with disabilities including physical disabilities, intellectual disabilities, emotional or mental health disabilities, and health-related disabilities. Children with special disabilities have physical and emotional needs that sometimes are very challenging to meet. They can also economically drain a family due to financial costs, and time is taken to help them. These families also experience social-emotional stress, reduced self-esteem, and mental health problems. Also, those who require behavioral difficulties in school. Some have terminal illnesses and there are some determined to be special needs because of ADHD or ADD, being diagnosed by meeting requirements of the school or medical issues like (Dyslexia Zablotsky et al., 2017). Many different challenges would qualify for extra help for children living with disabilities determined by required help. It is easier to approach special needs by a “label or diagnosis” by a doctor. Children living with disabilities need special attention that should be recognized by their families, schools, and the federal, state, and local governments.

An important service that applies to this population is the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).  For children living with disabilities in the United States, this act can impact the way they receive educational services. For those with physical disabilities, IDEA can require making the building handicapped accessible (Lipscomb et al., 2017). This may involve things like wheelchair ramps, elevators, and modified restrooms and shower stalls. For those with learning disabilities, it involves receiving an education in the least restrictive environment possible. Typically, this is viewed as mainstreaming or teaching special education students in the regular classroom with needed support as much as possible. It could also require a district to provide needed services on what should be the child’s home campus instead of sending the student to another campus to receive services. For those with health impairments, it means the school providing necessary resources or staff training to meet the needs of the student. For example, for a student who needs to be fed through a feeding tube, there must always be a trained staff member available to do that. The school has to find someone or bring in someone with the necessary skills to feed the student.

One of the objectives of children being evaluated under IDEA is to help them grow more fully into their potential. Children can still be mainstreamed in a lot of classes, especially ones that they are doing well in, or enjoying. In the case of classes where a child is struggling, it is good to look at choices such as tutoring or an easier class (Lipscomb et al., 2017). Schools’ policy might prohibit students from wearing sunglasses and hats on campus or inside, but a student might have a vision impairment that requires them as a result of IDEA. Thus, schools educate the staff not to correct that particular student for wearing sunglasses and a hat. It could also include things like not requiring a severely asthmatic student to do the mile run because everyone has to do the mile run. IDEA van helps adult sons or daughters with disabilities with services such as independent living training and job coaching in the future. Without a diagnosis, those services can be expensive.








Zablotsky, B., Black, L. I., Maenner, M. J., Schieve, L. A., Danielson, M. L., Bitsko, R. H., … & Boyle, C. A. (2019). Prevalence and trends of developmental disabilities among children in the United States: 2009–2017. Pediatrics, 144(4).

Lipscomb, S., Hamison, J., Liu Albert, Y., Burghardt, J., Johnson, D. R., & Thurlow, M. (2017). Preparing for Life after High School: The Characteristics and Experiences of Youth in Special Education. Findings from the National Longitudinal Transition Study 2012. Volume 2: Comparisons across Disability Groups. Full Report. NCEE 2017-4018. National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance.


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