SPE 531 Characteristics of MR and Developmental Disabilities
October 1, 2012
Professional and ethical standards
My own professional and ethical standards for working with students with mental retardation and developmental disabilities and their families are first and for most that we treat each and every student as an individual and to treat them and their families with the up most respect. It is a hard and mentally draining task to raise a student with any kind of disability and by knowing this, we the educator need to be flexible and understanding of the frustration the parents are going through and any possible conflicts or road blocks they may be dealing with (especially with IEP process and 504 plans).
Ways that can help with professional and ethical standards that teachers should be following or referencing is by reading the What Every Special Educator Must Know: Ethics, Standards, and Guidelines for Special Educators, Sixth Edition Revised. This book covers ethical and professional aspects that all educators of special education should read and follow, “As professionals serving individuals with exceptionalities, special educators possess a special trust endowed by the community and recognized by professional licensure. As such, special educators have a responsibility to be guided by their ethical principles and professional practice standards.” ("Professional standards," 2011)
In this growing field of special education we are seeing a trend of moral and ethical judgment calls being tested. When special education first was implemented into an actual class instead of a hiding place to put individuals with developmental disability, the only moral conflict we had was to think about what we were going to teach the student. Now days we are seeing more adverse conditions that the children live in and the conflict between what we as educators hold as high standard and best quality of life compared to what the parents or guardians feel is a quality standard of care.
In today’s society we get kids from a multitude of living situations ranging from families with two and one parents to group home settings due to behaviors and/ or care issues. With these now acceptable situations (back in the day this type of living situations where unheard of ) we see issues where educators and school officials crossing the moral boundaries in what they perceive as bettering the quality of life for the student. Just recently in the news there was a teacher who took it upon herself to cut the hair of an autistic little girl to help aid in keeping her hair out of her food while she ate, now this may have been done to help with behaviors due to texture or stemming control or it may have been due to what the teacher perceives as what is “best for the child”, ether way this was out of line and both unprofessional and unethical. Now in this field we are seeing constant changes, most recent was the No Child Left Behind which has made all educational standards a bar that all students of a grade level/age be tested and pass the federal bar. As a teacher, beginning or long term, we need to be able to know the changes that are happening and how they affect us and the way that we provide a quality of education that our students need and deserve. Now with knowing that this field is constantly changing we see that sometimes educators become lost in the system or even become non complacent since they feel that the changes are bad or that they will dissipate soon enough. It is our jobs as educators to always stay up on the new information that is being made available so that we can be caught up in the newest up-to-date teaching techniques so that way we are always in compliance for the laws and giving the students our best efforts. The web site to Valdosta State University is a great site that has links to all the most recent information that educators can use and