Here we present a very useful article on the Concept Of Exceptionality. The topic Concept Of Exceptionality is very important for B.Ed and M.Ed students.
In this article on the Family as a Social Institution, we will be able to learn the meaning of exceptionality, characteristics of exceptional children, etc.
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Exceptionality is defined in the dictionary ‘as the condition of being different’. It is also known as diversity. As every individual is different from others, we all are diverse. These differences among different us are due to gender, culture, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, beliefs or ideologies, etc.
Diversity is the exploration of such differences in a safe, positive, and nurturing environment. The concept of diversity includes acceptance of all and respect for them. In other words, it is about understanding each other and moving beyond simple tolerance to embracing differences contained within each individual.
At times we lack words to appreciate the unimaginable creativity of God when we find no single creation of his is an exact replica of the other. As a result, a child comes to this earth with its own unique abilities & capacities, while these are averages or even suffer from so many deficits & deficiencies since birth.
This gap between the abilities & capacities of the children related to their learning, adjustment, development found at the time of their birth, may further be widened by the nature of the environment at differences encountered by them in their nourishment & education. It results in labeling them as exceptionally superior or inferior, capable or incapable in one or other aspects of their personality development.
Meaning Of Exceptionality
In its linguistic sense, exceptionality is the quality or attribute of being exceptional or different. in other words, one is labeled as exceptional in one or other field or trait of one’s personality on account of the possession of some exceptionality i.e. uniqueness is being different from others i.e. possession of that trait or quality.
As discussed earlier, uniqueness or exceptionality is the fundamental characteristic of every creation of God and in this sense, all children we have at our home and the school must be quite unique, specific, special, and therefore there would be exceptionality in themselves.
In short, exceptionality is essentially a relative attribute. One is always unique, different, Special, and exceptional in his relation to others.
Definitions Of Exceptionality
Crow & Crow (1973): “The term atypical or exceptional is applied to traits or to a person possessing the traits, because of it the individual warrants or receives special attention from his fallows as his behavior response & activities, thereby affected”.
Telford & Sawrey (1977): ” The term exceptional children refers to those children who deviate from the normal in physical, mental, emotional or social characteristics to such a degree that they require special social & educational services to develop their maximum capacity”.
Cruick Shank (1974): “Also holds similar view when he defines an exceptional child as a child who deviates intellectually, physically, socially or emotionally so much from what is considered to be normal growth 8: development that he cannot receive maximum benefit from regular school program & requires a special class or supplementary instruction & services”.
According to W.L. Howard: “The term exceptional children includes children who experience difficulties in learning or behavioral, emotional or social problems. For children with physical abilities or sensory impairments and children who are intellectually gifted or have a special talent so that special education 1s necessary to help them to fulfill their potential. ”
According to S.A. Kirk. “An exceptional child is he who deviates from .the normal child in physical, mental and social characteristics to such an extent that he requires a modification of school practices or special educational services in order to develop his maximum capacity.”
By the definitions given above, it is clear that an exceptional child can be defined as one with any disability or disorder or delay or behavior/ attention/ sensory problem or any other issue hindering, his learning, development, or life experience. ‘
The term exceptional children include children who experience difficulties in learning as well as those whose performance is so superior that modifications in curriculum and instruction are necessary to help them fulfil their potential.
Thus, an exceptional child is an inclusive term that refers to children with learning and behavior problems, children with physical disabilities or sensory impairments, and children who are intellectually gifted or have a special talent.
Some characteristics or learning patterns of children with exceptionality are given below:
- Mental Retardation
- Learning Disabilities
- Emotional and Behavioural Disorder
- Multiple Disabilities
- Creative/special Talents
- Communication Disorders
- Visual Impairment
- Hearing Impairment
- Physical or Orthopaedic Impairment
- Neurological Disorders
Characteristics of Exceptional Children
(i) Exceptionality refers to uniqueness. The uniqueness of the exceptional child may be noticed in one or more of the following dimensions- vision, hearing, movement, perceptual, motor, communication, social, emotional & intelligence.
(ii) The uniqueness of the exceptional child may be in the negative direction or in the positive direction.
(iii) Exceptional children are those for whom uniform educational programs cannot be sufficient. Hence they need special instructional programs or ancillary services or both.
(iv) They deviate from the average children in both directions plus and minus of mean point-physically, psychologically or socially. These deviations are significant to such an extent that their adjustment with the normals in some situations becomes difficult.
(v) Exceptionality is related, impart, to the amount & quality of previous experiences received in the home
(vi) They come across learning disunity in normal settings due to the defects and sometimes due to their superior qualities.
(vii) Exceptionality is more quantitative than qualitative.
(viii) It has direction as well as intensity.
(ix) Exceptionality is manifested by the performance that is superior or inferior to that of the average children.
(x) Exceptionality is also characterized by its extensity & breadth. Extensity is indicated by the degree to which the primary deviation affects other aspects of one’s personality & behavior.
Classifications of Exceptional Children
Exceptional children are classified into the following deviations. these deviations are more quantitative than qualitative.
A. On the basis of mode of deviation:
- Intellectual Deviation
- Sensory Deviation
- Motor Deviation
- Educational Deviation
- Social Deviation
- Personality Deviation
- Traumatic Brain Injury and
- Multiple Deviance
B. On the basis of degree of exceptionality:
- Moderately Retarded
- Severely Retarded
- Profoundly Gifted
- Mildly Gifted
It tells about which side of the mean the child with exceptionality will come. The mentally Retarded comes under towards the minus side and the Gifted/Creative will come towards the plus side of the mean.
Mentally Retarded children have an IQ but it is less than 70 on intelligence tests. In the areas of intelligence and behavior, they have special learning needs. Roughly less than 1 % (or 0.96%) of the school-going children classified in this category.
Gifted Children and Children with creativity possess IQ which is more than 110. Creatives perform in a superb manner in one or two selected areas originally. About 3% of school-going children fall under this category.
It includes deaf, dumb, visually impaired, and people with hearing impairment. These people do not have a sense of touch or taste but they do not pose any special problem.
Visually Impaired children come into this category whose visual activities (sight) are either zero or less than 6/6 after correction (spectacles). About 0.4 to 0.6 percent of school-going children have been found visually impaired.
Hearing Impaired children have very low audible capacity. They have special learning needs in areas requiring functional use of hearing. About 0.11 percent of school going children fall under this category.
Crippled, orthopeadically handicapped, speech impaired, defects in limbs comes under this deviation.
These children are different from the normal academic achievement due to a variety of reasons in both directions.
Educationally Bright children come under this deviation. The achievement level of these children is very high due to the high level of adaptability to learn, assimilation of thoughts, memory, and understanding. These children can learn for a long period of time and have the capabilities to learn any subject matter.
Educationally Backward children are also a part of this domain. The children falling in this deviation are backward by their age mates. This backwardness may be due to defective teaching, learning process, low intellectual abilities, emotional problems and adjustment in the school etc.
Communication Disorder also comes under educational deviance. Children under this deviance are very poor in understanding the views of others and are not equally efficient in communicating with others. The have a low level of intelligence which is a reason for their poor level of communication.
The children suffering from behavioral disorders and learning disabilities are included in this group. Children suffering from neurosis and psychosis are its examples.
Learning Disability is personality deviance. The children under this deviance have special learning needs in areas requiring functional use of listening or speaking. These children are normal in intelligence even they are poor inlearning. This is the largest category in exceptional children which includes 4% of school-going children.
Emotional Disorder: These children lack proper emotional and social skills. When these children are not treated well by their peers or teachers, they become more disturbed emotionally, and hence, they need special attention from the teachers.
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