Getting Important Methodologies Like ABA in Your Child’s Special Education Program

Are you the parent of a young child with autism that thinks that your child needs an applied behavioral analysis (ABA)program? Are you the parent of a child with dyslexia or other learning disabilities who thinks that your child needs an Orton-Gillingham Based multisensory reading program? Would you like to learn how to advocate for these particular methodologies for your child? This article will discuss what methodology means, and information that you can use to advocate for the appropriate methodology for your child.

Methodology means the specific curriculum or program that special education personnel are going to use, to teach your child. Some of the most popular methodologies for teaching children are ABA (for children with autism) or an Orton-Gillingham based multisensory reading program for children with dyslexia or other reading disabilities.

Many special education personnel continue to tell parents that they have no right to tell them what methodology to use. Below are 4 points that you can make with school personnel to get the methodology that your child needs in order to benefit from their education.

1. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) 2004 states under 300.26 that: special education means specially designed instruction means adapting as appropriate to the needs of the eligible child . . .the content, methodology, or delivery of instruction.

This section is one of the most important clarifications in the IDEA law. It
gives parents the right to discuss the content, methodology and delivery of education to their child. The discussion of methodology is important for all children but especially those children with autism or language based learning disabilities.

2. In a recent court case entitled KL vs. Mercer Island School District found that: The particular teaching methodology that will be used. . .will need to be discussed at the IEP meeting and incorporated into the student’s IEP.

3. Another court case the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois discussed methodology in the case of TH vs. Palatine School District. The court held that the school’s argument that it had the right to choose methodology was not valid since the school district had no methodology. The US Supreme Court decision in Rowley could only apply if the school had chosen and implemented a methodology calculated to allow the child to make meaningful progress.

4. There is no legal basis for school districts decision to not discuss or specify the methodology in a child’s IEP! School districts position on this contradicts common sense. IDEA regulations require that the IEP should include related services and supplementary aids and supports to be provided to the child, and a statement of the program, modifications or supports. It is mind blowing that school districts take the position that it should specify the supports and modifications which may be dependent on the methodology, but not specify the methodology.

If you feel that your child needs a particular methodology in order to benefit from their education, bring it up at an IEP meeting. If the IEP team feels that they do not have to put the methodology in your child’s IEP, bring up all of the 4 points above! Put special emphasis on the wording of IDEA which does include the word methodologies. You may have to fight for a particular methodology that your child needs, but it will be well worth it!

Education in Theory and Perspective

What is the meaning of education?

Webster defines education as the process of educating or teaching. Educate is further defined as “to develop the knowledge, skill, or character of…” Thus, from these definitions, we might assume that the purpose of education is to develop the knowledge, skill, or character of students.

It is also defined in Oxford that education is the knowledge, abilities, and the development of character and mental powers that are resulted from intellectual, moral, and physical trainings. So, it can be said that someone who already got education will have additional knowledge, abilities and change in character and mental power.

While in Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, it is stated that:
Education encompasses teaching and learning specific skills, and also something less tangible but more profound: the imparting of knowledge, positive judgment and well-developed wisdom. Education has as one of its fundamental aspects the imparting of culture from generation to generation (see socialization). Education means ‘to draw out’, facilitating realization of self-potential and latent talents of an individual. It is an application of pedagogy, a body of theoretical and applied research relating to teaching and learning and draws on many disciplines such as psychology, philosophy, computer science, linguistics, neuro-science, sociology and anthropology.

From the quotation above, it is assumed that education does not merely transfer knowledge or skill, but more specifically it trains people to have positive judgment and well-developed wisdom, better characters and mental powers. Through education, someone will be able to search through their natural talent and self-potential, empower them and finally will result in gaining their self-esteem and better life.

The history of education according to Dieter Lenzen, president of the Freie Universit├Ąt Berlin 1994 “began either millions of years ago or at the end of 1770”. Education as a science cannot be separated from the educational traditions that existed before. Education was the natural response of early civilizations to the struggle of surviving and thriving as a culture. Adults trained the young of their society in the knowledge and skills they would need to master and eventually pass on.

The education of an individual human begins since he was born and continues throughout his life. Even, some people believe that education begins even before birth, as evidenced by some parents’ playing music or reading to the baby in the womb to hope it will influence the child’s development. For some, the struggles and triumphs of daily life provide far more instruction than does formal. Family members may have a profound educational effect – often more profound than they realize – though family teaching may function very informally.

Education: the purpose, function and in practice

Theorists have made a distinction between the purpose of education and the functions of education. A purpose is the fundamental goal of the process-an end to be achieved, while Functions are other outcomes that may occur as a natural result of the process- byproducts or consequences of schooling. To elaborate these terms, it can be seen in reality that some teachers believe that the transfer of knowledge from teacher to students is the main purpose of education, while the transfer of knowledge from school to the real world or the application of what has been transferred is something that happens naturally as a consequence of possessing that knowledge; it is called a function of education.

Here are some quotations taking from The Meaning of Education:
“The only purpose of education is to teach a student how to live his life-by developing his mind and equipping him to deal with reality. The training he needs is theoretical, i.e., conceptual. He has to be taught to think, to understand, to integrate, to prove. He has to be taught the essentials of the knowledge discovered in the past-and he has to be equipped to acquire further knowledge by his own effort” ~Ayn Rand

“The aim of education should be to teach us rather how to think, than what to think-rather to improve our minds, so as to enable us to think for ourselves, than to load the memory with the thoughts of other men.” ~Bill Beattie

From the above information it can be said that the purpose of education is to prepare the students to be able to face their life by facilitating them to develop their mind and equip them with “hard skill” and “soft skill” to deal with reality. As the result of this education, they themselves will be able to think, to understand, to integrate and to prove their ability.

Talking about the purpose of education, there are some overviews about it. There are different outlooks between autocratic and democratic regarding education. It is quite clear that each type of world outlook demands its consistent type of education. The autocratic wants the education in the purpose of making docile followers. So, that is why they prefer a type of education whose purpose is to build docility and obedience. In the other hand, Democracy is different from them. Democracy wishes all people to be able and willing to judge wisely for themselves. The democratic will seek a type of education whose purpose is to build responsible, thinking, public-spirited citizenship in all people.

This is also different for the authoritarian society. For them, it is just enough for the leaders to know what they want without thinking about what their people want. It is quite in contrary to what a democratic society wants. For the democracy society, the leaders and the most important – the large majority of the people must see clearly the aims/purpose of the type of education they have. In other words, in a democracy it is essential that the leaders and people have clear philosophy of life and a clear philosophy of education.

How to Teach Ethics Education

The quality of life depends on the quality of who you are. What you actually become. It all boils down to how morally good and ethical a person is. So the question is how do we make every one become a good moral person? Since ancient times we recognize the importance of teaching moral values. We teach it the same way we teach math and science by providing the knowledge of good and bad. One very important factor that the world of education has still not completely woken up to, in spite of all these thousands of years of research, is that as there are two kinds of intelligences – regular and emotional – both require a different set of rules for education. Emotional intelligence education alters the actual physical infrastructure of the brain. Emotional intelligence education starts from the womb. And continues through hugs and kisses and a nurturing childhood environment. By the time the child is 6 years old the moral character traits are well set for the rest of the person’s life.

So to really insure moral education we must learn how to educate the individual at the fetus and the child stage. Thus we must put together templates and manuals for future parents, current pregnant ones and those with little kids.

Please consider the following:

There was a king who was very troubled because his people were very poor. He did not know what to do. He heard of this kingdom where people were very prosperous and lived in mansions and even marble palaces. So he went to the king of this place and asked him how they were able to live like this. The king told him that it was very simple he just passed a building code which everyone in his kingdom had to follow. So our king came back and passed a law that everyone must build a marble palace!

Now in his kingdom most could afford a straw hut, others could afford a log cabin. Still others could afford a cement mansion and a few could afford a marble palace. So the kings law went into effect and nothing changed. Just a few marble palaces came up. Except for the select few the rest were incapable of building marble palaces.

It is the same when it comes to morality. We have moral laws and we expect everyone to follow them. We spend billions of dollars on crime prevention and containment yet nothing changes.

The only way to change and reduce crime is by changing the physical quality of the brain that generates the moral compass of the individual. Thus ethics education means not just telling people what is good and what is bad. It is about creating the right moral infrastructure generating brain.

The brain has four basic levels as follows:

1) Premature brain – (I have quantified it as -2) Those stuck on this level have the moral values of a snake. In their mind they are everything and everyone else is nothing. They are above the law and everyone else is below the law. No amount of moral education is going to change them. Punishment is the only deterrence and even this they often ignore. Their physically brain is too far morally gone.

2) Immature brain – (I have quantified it as -1). Those stuck on this level are corrupt. In their mind they deserve the best, by hook or by crook. Current ethics education will not change them much as their moral values are generated by an entrenched selfishness producing brain infrastructure. We have to wake up to the fact that we will have to change this brain infrastructure.

3) Mature brain – (I have quantified it as +1). Those stuck at this level are driven by a trophy self image as in ‘I am the best’. This is the group that is the easiest to change. But not by the current way of moral education which practically amounts to pleading with people to do good. The trophy self image will have to be gotten rid of and replaced with a selfless self.

4) Super mature brain – (I have quantified it as +2). The brain at this developed level already generates a selfless self so moral education is not required for this group.

Just like a man with the resources of building a log cabin cannot become a marble palace owner; a man with a -2, -1. or even +1 brain can ever become morally +2. No amount of current ethics education can make a -2 brain generate a +2 brain power. The only way real moral values can take root is by making the brain +2. And this requires brain therapy more than anything else. It requires brain changing education. The sooner we wake up to this the faster we will create a morally healthy society. Current moral education amounts to like our local pastor telling us to live virtuous lives. We hear it and applaud it and then go back to our old ways.

Notice how without exception all books on self help talk of ‘7/9 steps. There is just one goal/step as far as self help is concerned – become wise. Thus ethics education is more like self transformation education. It is more precisely about making ones self +2! It is more in line with self help education. Then again not like the current self help education. My main field of work is wisdom. And as philosophy is considered the love of wisdom which means one of the main goals of philosophy is to try to find out what is wisdom. Most experts on wisdom are still stuck where they define wisdom by its attributes and are still struggling to define wisdom.

As the wisdom potential is there in every brain just like blood and as absence of wisdom means presence of ignorance (where actually there is a mixture of the two) so every life is affected by lack of wisdom, from individual to group to country, so the stakes are very high. In fact much of the present mess in the world today from the economic crisis to the problems of war can all be traced to lack of wisdom. So if I can wake up main stream education/science to the correct path to ethics education, I think my work will be done.

Philosophy, religion and science in my view are much more connected then we realize! I have found that at the highest stage of the mind/brain development the quality of the character traits (as defined by religion, philosophy and science) of every person are all one and the same!!! Religion wants you to be altruistic, philosophy wants you to be wise/altruistic and science/education wants you to be emotionally super mature which is the same! So wisdom is the common thread in all of them. Thus we need philosophers, religious leaders and scientists/educationists all working together to create ethics education that transforms the brain to +2.