response to discussion question 1

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250 word response with reference

The difference between anything secular and biblical will always be that the secular approach does what is best in man’s eyes and a biblical approach will be what is God’s way to the best that man is able. The secular approach to special education focuses solely on the student’s educational and physical needs, while a biblical approach will focus on the educational, physical and spiritual needs of the student. A biblical approach will be led by the fact that we are all made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27, ESV) and we are called make disciples (Matthew 28:19-20, ESV). In the case with Christian schools Dr. Beth Ackerman points out that Christian schools must decide “whether they should be elite and among the best or whether they should care for ‘the least of these’ and reach all students” (Ackerman, 2012, p.3-4). I have a child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and I know first-hand the struggle it is to find a program that fits your child’s specific needs. We tried to get my youngest son who has autism enrolled in the preschool program at the Christian private school that my oldest son attends, and they said that they do not have a special needs program. The second option was at a public school that offered an inclusive class where typical and atypical students would learn side by side. The administrators assured us that this would be a good fit because the typical students would learn compassion and perspective from the atypical children, and the atypical children would learn from the modeled behavior of the typical children. The school had their own OT (occupational Therapist), PT (Physical Therapist), and Speech Pathologist, and allowed ABA therapists to come three times a week for three hours at a time. It sounded great to us, but the reality was far from great. The teachers were either not trained to deal with the student’s behaviors or were not comfortable doing so because there was no control in the classroom during instruction time. The head teacher was constantly being undermined by the two assistant teachers. I have even looked into a private school that is nondenominational and they will allow one student with a diagnosis in a class, but the student is not allowed to come to school unless they are accompanied by the aid who works with them. In our case my son receives ABA services (Applied Behavior Analysis) from an RBT (Registered Behavioral Therapist), but if she was ever sick or had an appointment my son would not be able to attend class that day. His prognosis is good, so we are trying to enroll him at my oldest son’s private Christian school again because of how much progress he has made this year, but there are still a lot of hoops to jump through because of the diagnosis that he has and the lack of a special education program at this school. Dr. Beth Ackerman describes how differentiated instruction benefits all children from those students who are gifted to those students with special needs. Dr. Ackerman says that “all students are active participants in the learning process” (Ackerman, 2012, p.12). This is an effective way to allow students with varying needs to have the chance to engage and have their interests held so they can learn the material that is important for them to learn. This means that teachers both at public schools and private schools need to be flexible to adjust a plan to meet the needs of the child keeping, “What the key objective that we wish the students to know?” ahead of their specific plan for how to teach that objective. My husband says people sometimes “fall in love with their plan” and become hesitant to change it even after it has proven unproductive.

Ackerman, B. (2012). G.U.I.D.E. to differentiated instruction for Christian educators. Lynchburg, VA: Liberty University Press.

Bible, ESV, 2008.

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