Resource Room in Special Education
This essay provides a general overview of the resource room. The resource room is designed to assist individuals who demonstrate weaknesses in the fundamentals of education. For individuals with disabilities, the resource room is an educational placement option. The resource room provides a broad continuum of service delivery options, strategies, and teaching methods. The pullout, self-contained, and collaboration/consultation models are a few of the available placement options. The purpose of this paper is to provide general information on the history, definitions, management, physical facilities, and future challenges of the resource room.
Keywords Collaborate; Consult; Education for All Handicapped Children Act (P.L. 94-142); Individuals with Disabilities Education Act 2004 (IDEA 2004); Individualized Education Plan (IEP); Itinerant; Multicultural; Normalization; Physical Facilities; Pullout; Related Service Personnel; Related Services; Resource Room; Self-Contained Classrooms
Special Education: The Resource Room in Special Education
For individuals with disabilities, the resource room is an educational placement option. The resource room provides a broad continuum of service delivery options, strategies, and teaching methods. The pullout, self-contained, and collaboration/consultation models are a few of the available placement options.
The goal of the resource room is to plan, develop, and provide educational strategies that meet the unique and varied learning needs of an individual with a disability. In order to be an educational placement option, the individual must demonstrate an educational disability (i.e., learning disability, autism, hearing impairment, etc.) and found eligible for special education and/or related services. Each state has a system, which is guided by federal requirements, to identify and provide services to individuals with disabilities. Additionally, an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) must be developed indicating a need, frequency, and duration of placement in the resource room. The purpose of this paper is to provide general information on the history, definitions, management, physical facilities, and future challenges of the resource room.
Since man's earliest time, individuals have experienced learning difficulties. Formalized educational services for individuals with learning disabilities did not exist until the nineteenth century. In 1954, the U. S. Supreme Court ended segregated schools in the landmark case Brown vs. Board of Education (Fagan & Warden, 1996; Fletcher-Janzen, & Reynolds, 2000). One of the significant issues this ruling set into motion was the matter of the right to education of the handicapped. In 1966, Hobson v. Hansen found that tracking systems were illegal. In terms of special educational services, this case was considered to be a predecessor to mainstreaming and the least restrictive environment (Fletcher-Janzen, & Reynolds, 2000).
The growth of special education and the passage of the Education for All Handicapped Children Act Public Law 94-142 in 1975 reflected the importance society placed on educating individuals with disabilities. P.L. 94-142 has undergone reauthorizations by Congress and is currently referred to as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 (IDEA 2004). This federal law continues to mandate special education and related services to individuals with disabilities age birth to 21 years.
The civil rights movement advanced the idea that all children, regardless of ability, race, or creed, are allowed a free appropriate public education. As a result of these early court cases and federal laws, the idea of mainstreaming and the provision of educational services in as "normal" an environment as possible led to the development of the resource room. Additionally, the theory of normalization advanced the right to a free appropriate public education by placing children with disabilities in the local public school systems.
What is a Resource Room?
The resource room was originally developed as a way to provide education to individuals who had difficulty learning in the regular educational classroom. The typical resource room is a separate classroom where a teacher certified in special education teaches a child daily for brief periods of time (Blosser & Neidecker, 2002; Fletcher-Janzen, & Reynolds, 2000). The resource teacher also collaborates with the regular education teachers and related service providers and serves as a resource in terms of special learning needs.
Resource rooms can be found nationwide in public schools in grades kindergarten through twelve (K-12). The basic definition of the resource room is a room designed to assist individuals who demonstrate weaknesses in the fundamentals of education. An individual can experience difficulties in the academic areas of reading, writing, and/or math. Additionally, the individual may need assistance in developing cognitive-communication or social skills.
The types of individuals served in the resource room include those with average, above average, or impaired intelligence. In order to receive services in the resource room, the individual must undergo an educational assessment that identifies a need for special educational services. Additionally, the individual must have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). The IEP is a legal document that is designed by, but not limited to, personnel such as the resource room teacher, classroom teacher, family, school administrators, and related service providers. The purpose of the document is to formulate detailed plans on how interventions will be provided to the student as well as outline the types and frequency of services, modifications, and additional services needed for the individual to be successful in his or her academic pursuits.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act 2004 (IDEA 2004) provides specific definitions to differentiate the educational environments available for school-age children. There are four basic educational environments available to individuals receiving special educational services. Basically, the environment is related to the amount of time the individual spends in the special education versus regular education classroom.
According to IDEA 2004, individuals with disabilities who attend and are provided with special education and related services in the regular class for 80% or more of the school day are placed in regular education. However, this does not mean that the individual cannot attend the resource room. As long as the individual spends 80% of the school day in regular educational classes with peers, he or she is considered placed in regular education classes.
IDEA 2004 states that individuals who spend 79 percent of the school day in the regular class but no less than 40 percent of the school day in a regular class are placed in resource rooms. These individuals may receive special education and/or related services in the resource room or in the regular classroom.
When receiving special educational services inside the regular classroom for less than 40 percent of the school day, an individual is considered to be in a separate class (IDEA, 2004). Typically, these types of classes are labeled self-contained with limited instruction in the regular classroom with peers.
Types of Resource Rooms
The literature uses similar terms in describing the types of resource rooms used in the public schools. It is noted that different types of resource rooms exist and provide different programming options to meet the educational needs for individuals with diverse learning needs. The resource rooms proposed by Blosser and Neidecker (2002) and Franzman and Redfield (n.d.) will be discussed. The names used by these authors are generic names for the placement options available within the resource room continuum. State educational agencies establish the name or label of the classroom within IDEA 2004 guidelines.
Blosser and Neidecker (2002) describe the types of resource rooms as those which
• Collaborate / Consult
The resource room may be used on an as needed basis to monitor the progress of the individual who receives all services in the regular education classroom. In the collaboration/consultation resource room, the special education teacher may collaborate or consult with the regular education teacher or related services providers (i.e., speech-language pathology, occupational therapy, vision specialists, etc.) on teaching methods or use of resources.
The pullout model is defined as removing the individual from the regular classroom to receive services (Blosser & Neidecker, 2002). In this model, the student spends a part of the day, as defined on the IEP, in the resource room and the remaining time in the regular classroom. The focus in this model is on content mastery to assist the individual in succeeding in the regular classroom. An advantage to this model is one on one instruction and the development of basic skills that cannot be integrated into the regular classroom (Paul, 2007).
The self-contained classroom is designed to accommodate individuals that have difficulties learning in the regular...
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