Bohatyretz, S. ; Lipps, Garth
Author Affiliation, Ana.
Department of Sociology, Psychology and Social Work
Diversity in the classroom: Characteristics of elementary students receiving special education
Education Quarterly Review
Date of Publication
Children in Canadian classrooms have a diversity of skills and needs, especially those children who have some type of limitation. Regular methods of instruction do not work with every child; some require special educational services. 'Special education' was founded on the belief that every child can reach her or his full potential given the opportunity, effective teaching and proper resources (Winzer 1990). Recognizing this, the Canadian Charter of Rights and freedoms, Section 15 guarantees a public education to all children regardless of their disabilities (Klassen 1994; Porter and Richler 1991). Given the increased attention being paid to education by parents, business and government (Ross, Scott and Kelly 1996), there is suprisingly little national information on special needs children. What are the characteristics of special need children across Canada? What types of families do they live in? What kinds of experiences do they have at school? This paper attempts to shed some light on these and other questions using data from the first cycle of the National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth, 1994-1995. It focuses on these children who were identified by teachers as receiving special education because of a physical, emotional, behavioural or other problem that limited the kind or amount of school work they could do. Elementary students who were part of gifted programs are not discussed in this paper.....