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Disability Awareness Paper Topics and Guidelines

Imagine that two weeks before the school year begins, while you are setting up your classroom, your building principal informs you that a student with special needs has just moved into the district and will be placed in your class. The student has one of the disorders or health conditions listed below.

The topic of this paper must be on one of the following disorders:


Apert syndrome


cerebral palsy (CP) – provide overview, but focus on one subtype

cortical visual impairment (CVI)

Dandy-Walker syndrome

fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS)

fragile x syndrome

juvenile diabetes

juvenile rheumatoid arthritis

Klinefelter Syndrome

lead poisoning

Lesch-Nyhan syndrome

Maroteaux-Lamy Syndrome

Morquio Syndrome

muscular dystrophy (MD)

retinitis pigmentosa

retinopathy of prematurity (ROP)

Rett’s disorder

sensorineural hearing loss

seizure disorder (epilepsy) – provide overview, but focus on one subtype

sickle cell anemia

spina bifida

Sturge-Weber syndrome

stuttering (fluency disorder)

Tuberous sclerosis

Turner Syndrome

Tourette’s syndrome (TS)

Usher’s Syndrome (US)

William’s Syndrome

You are required to locate resources and information about one of these disorders or health conditions. The focus of this paper is on how the disorder affects the child in school and how teachers can accommodate the condition. As a teacher of a child with the disorder, what should you know, and what can you do to provide for this student’s unique needs?

In the body of the paper:

Define/describe the disorder

Report on the known or suspected cause(s)

Report on the incidence or prevalence (how common it is), any related gender or sociocultural or economic factors

Describe the range of impairment/functioning likely to be seen

Describe any subtypes

Describe how the disorder affects a person throughout the life-span (e.g. how does it affect the attainment of development milestones, how does it affect employment?)

What is the prognosis (likely outcome) for someone with the disorder?

Describe how the disorder is experienced by the child/student (what would it be like to have this disorder?)

Focus on how the disorder affects the student in school. Report any academic implications, social implications, and the need for accommodations in instruction or assessment. If the disorder does not affect a particular area, say so. Be specific, address assistive technology, needed (related) services – but focus on what the classroom teacher needs to know and do to accommodate and provide access to the curriculum.

Report on whether the student is likely to be a candidate for the general education curriculum or need a highly specialized one.

You must provide at least five sources as part of your references. Do not use Wikipedia as a source. The textbook does not count as one of your sources (but do use it to help you locate resources). Several of the links provided in Moodle will also lead you to valuable information on various disorders. Be sure to include at least two articles that have one or more named authors. Anonymous web material is not acceptable – there must be an author or the author is the organization.

You must use APA style in writing this paper. The APA style sheet in Moodle provides information on how to write in APA style. The library also has helpful information in this regard and you can use library software to correctly format your paper.

The paper is worth 75 points or 15% of the final grade.

Meets or Exceeds Standard


1.Provides information on a specificdisorder or diagnosis.

2.Five or more quality sources of information were used.

3.References are originals from professional journals, books, and organizations – not summaries or brief abstracts. Uses both electronic and print sources.

4.Descriptions include the domains of: cognition, academic functioning, social skills, communication, and physical development. As a minimum – states whether or not these areas are affected.

5.Clearly explains the disorder.

6.Descriptions would be useful for a teacher (focuses on childhood, how the child would present in school – not overly medical).

7.The whole child is presented – issues presented prior to school entrance, challenges faced by parents, adult/life span issues.

8.Presents the range of what might be seen – not one stereotypical child.

9.Clearly identifies at least one site for parent support.

10.Clearly identifies at least one site for teachers to obtain more information.

11.Discusses how the disorder is usually treated/managed in school. Gives placement options, related services, focuses on classroom procedures

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