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Advanced Educational Psychology

Exceptional Learners Lecture Notes

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Learners who are exceptional

What does it mean to be an exceptional learner?

Exceptional Learners

Individuals whose physical, mental or behavioral performance is very different from the norm – higher or lower – that additional services are needed to meet their needs.

What percentage of K-12 students receive special educational services?

Approximately 12% of K-12 students receive SPED services

Of this 12%, how many receive services for having a learning disability?

General Principles


Label is just a label

More to me than just a disability!

Collaboration w/ family

What types of disorders and disabilities will you come across as K-12 teachers?

Sensory Disorders

Visual Impairments

Teaching strategies?

Hearing Impairments

Teaching Strategies?

Physical Disorders

Orthopedic Impairments

Cerebral palsy

Seizure Disorders

Teaching Strategies?

If you had a child with epilepsy who was prone to seizures in your class, how would you prepare other students?

Mental Retardation

1.5% of population; 89% mild

Inadequate intellectual functioning

Deficits in adaptive behavior


55-70 Mild (EMH/EMR)

40-54 Moderate (TMH/TMR)

25-39 Severe

Below 25 Profound

Causes of MR

75% of time we don’t know


Down syndrome

Fragile X

Brain Damage

Infections, environmental hazards, FAS

MR …(cont)

Teaching Strategies?

Speech and Language Disorders

1/5 of spec ed population

Articulation disorders (r’s, th’s)

Receptive/Expressive Language Disorders

Teaching strategies?

What would you do if you observed students mocking a student who stuttered in class?

Learning Disabilities


Normal intelligence

Difficulty in at least one academic area

No other diagnosed disorder causing problem

50% of Special Ed population

3x boys; minorities overrepresented SPED

reading, math, written language

Learning Disabilities.. (cont)


Often difficult and takes team effort

Quick to label and place into SPED

Teaching Strategies?


Characteristics –

Inattention; Hyperactivity; Impulsivity

Diagnosis has doubled in 1990’s

Boys 4-9 x more likely

Misdiagnosis Controversy

ADHD .. (cont)

Teaching strategies?

Emotional & Behavioral Disorders

Serious, persistent problems that involve:

Relationships, Aggression, Depression, etc.

Inability to learn unexplained by

Intellectual, sensory, health factors

9% of special ed population

Boys are 3 times more likely

Least Restrictive Environment

Regular class in traditional bldg.

Regular class with TA/para

time in resource room/ in reg. class

Full-time special class in regular bldg.

Special School in district

Special School out of district

Residential Facility

QPS District


Students who are Gifted

What does it mean to be Gifted?

Gifted Children

IQ of 120/130+

Superior talent in some domain:

Characteristics of the Gifted

Early mastery


Less support

Problem solving skills

High internal motivation

Info-processing skills

How can you enhance the learning process of a student who is academically gifted?

Educating the Gifted

Special Classes

Accelerated Programs

Enrichment Programs

Mentor Programs

Community Service Programs


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