Special Education

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Two researchers at the University of North Carolina's Frank Porter Graham Child Development Center have been recruiting children suspected of having reading disabilities for a nine-month study to test new treatments for such problems.

About 20 children between the ages of 7 and 12 have already been identified, according to Lynne V. Feagans, one of the two researchers. She said the study will involve about 45 students with "indeterminant" reading problems.

The study, based on medical findings, will begin with a battery of physical, neurological, and reading tests, Ms. Feagans explained. The students, she said, will be given reading and memory tasks that involve Apple II computers.

Although most of the details about the study will not be released until after it has been completed, Ms. Feagans said it is different from others that have been conducted because it examines both the medical and educational aspects of the reading problems of disabled children.

The South Carolina Department of Education is involved in establishing a pilot special-education program to serve severely emotionally disturbed children living in a four-county area. The program is expected to lessen the need for school districts within the four-county area to pay costly tuition for placements outside of the state.

The program will be administered by a policy council whose members will include a district superintendent and several state-agency leaders. For the first year of the three-year program, the state legislature has appropriated about $500,000.

Many districts were able to serve handicapped students last year, but, a department official said, they have been unable to provide "a continuum of care."

A Pennsylvania State University horticulturalist who has worked with young children in schools has combined his personal knowledge with his academic expertise to improve vocational-education opportunities for handicapped students. He has completed the first of four horticultural manuals designed for use by educable mentally retarded and learning-disabled students at the high-school level.

The manual, "Basic Job Skills in Horticulture--Things You Can Do," outlines each step taken to cultivate plants through detailed illustrations and descriptions that are suitable for students with a 4th-grade reading level.

Every school in Pennsylvania with a horticulture program is scheduled to receive a copy of the manual, according to its author, Connie D. Baggett, who is an assistant professor of agriculture and extension education at the university.

Mr. Baggett has been awarded two grants by the state department of education to continue his work with vocational-education teachers.

For more information, contact Mr. Baggett at the university's College of Agriculture, University Park, Pa. 16802; (814) 863-3824.--sgf

Vol. 03, Issue 03

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