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ESE548 : The Class : Critic's Corner

Module 6: Critic's Corner - Two Ears Up


In this final module, you become a film critic. After all, you spent most of a semester learning about youngsters, clarifying ideas about cultural contributions, language, service paradigms and how they affect students with special needs.

You can pull this learning and your personal insights together nicely by analyzing how the media portrays youth with special needs and comparing that to what you know and are coming to value. Since most of us have not grown up with a youngster with Asperger Syndrome, we tend to watch a movie like Rainman and believe that Raymond is a great portrayal. Certainly, the movie opened hearts to autism and made it less frightening for the general public.

At the same time, it is only a snap shot - sort of like your driver's license picture. It captures one moment in time, and it does resemble you, but it certainly isn't "you" and it does little more than offer a way to ID, recognize you. Sometimes we use the ID to label, too. This card says you are not old enough to smoke, to use spray paint wisely, to drive, or give blood. Nearly all of us have felt labeled by age at one time or another.

Parents of children seldom are amused by these motion picture portrayals. Over glamorized, over dramatized versions even lead to anger at times. One parent of an autistic boy said, "If one more person asks me what my idiot savant can do or asks if my son has a special gift, or can tell how many toothpicks are on the floor, I think I will hit them." Strong feelings, these. Yet at the same time, the 90 minute stylized segment, Rain Man, is entertainment, not a documentary, and it shows the high points rather than the sleepless nights, the school rejections, the misery of not feeling successful as a parent.

The portrayals in books often provide a more salient picture, though even books give just one version of one person. Again, if you read an autobiography or a nonfiction version, it is more likely to parallel the experiences you will have in the classroom.

This module is about reviewing portrayals of people with special needs. Doing this has obvious problems. It is important to gain more insight about youth, to become more enmeshed in understanding the lives of youth. At the same time, it is important to distinguish between the two hour snap shot version of autism and the individuals living with it, 24-7.

The following course objectives will guide your work.

Course Objectives

1. Discuss major social, cultural, economic issues in special ed.
4. Knowledge and understanding of ten categories
12. Knowledge of history and philosophy of regular & special ed.
14. Demonstrate respect and sensitivity toward all individuals


Level of Competency

P = Prior knowledge from previous course

I = Introductory Awareness and initial knowledge
C = Competency You are able to discuss ideas from personal reference and in enough depth to ` provide examples during discussion or write a thorough essay including most major points
M = Mastery Understanding of the subject and ideas is so embedded that application of concepts and utilization of goals is second nature


Objective Level of Competency Evaluation
Social, cultural, economic issues in special ed. Introductory Evaluation
Knowledge of ten categories Competency Evaluation
History and philosophy of special education Introductory Evaluation
Respect and sensitivity Competency Evaluation

Remember to access your text to recall characteristics and review various issues that impact on students, families and teachers. Now, on to the assignments!

Unlike the previous modules all of the personas (Kit, Lou, Pat and BJ) will work on the same assignment. As before, however, each persona will read a different text reading. So, click on the Readings link to see the reading assignment for your persona. Click on Assignment One and follow the directions to complete this module.

To complete this Topic successfully, please complete the following activities in the order shown below:

icon TEXTBOOK READING: Read the Prologue: You will be guided through this by a rabbit named Jung. Read this link to burrow in!


icon ASSIGNMENT: Read, Watch, and Critique

Course assessment What do you think about the course?

Once you have completed this module you should:

Go back to Introduction to Exceptional Children

E-mail J'Anne Affeld at

Course developed by J'Anne & Martha Affeld


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