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Introduction to Special Education: Making a Difference [Hardcover]

Deborah Deutsch Smith

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Introduction to Special Education: Making a Difference Introduction to Special Education: Making a Difference
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Book Description

15 Feb 2006 0205474691 978-0205474691 6

With Making a Difference as its central theme, the Sixth Edition of this best selling text recognizes that students are expected to demonstrate social responsibility, and that the actions and attitudes of individuals do matter. 


Students and teachers have long relied on this comprehensive overview of the field of special education and the ways in which all teachers can help students with special needs to succeed in school and reach their full potential.  The text is brimming with evidence-based practices, ready-to-use teaching tips, and up-to-the minute information about technology applications and contemporary inclusive practices … all tools that teachers can use with students of all abilities, from those who struggle to the most gifted. 


The text uses authentic stories from real people, current news events, and examples from contemporary popular culture to examine the positive effects of 30 years of IDEA, 15 years of ADA, and many years of social activism on the lives of individuals with disabilities, their families, and the educators and professionals who work with them. 

The Sixth Edition features: a new chapter (6) on ADHD; “Making a Difference” sections that open every chapter with examples of social responsibility, philanthropy, advocacy and volunteerism; "What IDEA 2004/No Child Left Behind Says About ..." boxes in every chapter clarify, in a convenient bullet-list format, the practical meaning for teachers of these two federal initiatives;  “Professional Standards and Licensure Tests” tables at the end of each chapter that correlate major sections with CEC, INTASC and Praxis II exam; and “Tips for Classroom Management” and “Tips for Effective Teachers” boxes in all chapters provide bulleted lists of practical ideas and suggestions.


In addition to being the author of Introduction to Special Education, 6e, and other major textbooks and articles, Deborah Deutsch Smith is a Research Professor of Special Education and Director of the IRIS Center for Faculty Enhancement at Vanderbilt University, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Special Education Programs.  She has served on numerous editorial boards, and was recently appointed Associate Editor of TESE and has assumed the responsibility for an annual special feature translating research to practice. She is a past president of the Higher Education Consortium for Special Education (HECSE). She recently completed a term as a member of the Diversity Advisory Task Force of the federal National Council on Disability (NCD). Since 1984, Deb has served on the Board of Trustees for Pitzer College, Claremont Colleges, and was recognized in 2003 as a Life Trustee.

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"This book is the rule rather than the exception."

~ J'Anne Affeld, Northern Arizona University


"I believe a specific strength is the concise delivery of ideas in the text. The sections have good content but are not too detailed as to be off-putting for the general educator."

~ Patricia McClung, Lee University


"I really like [Chapter 3] and find it significantly superior to the Heward text. In fact, I spend little time with students on this chapter and use my own information. The 'History of the Field' section in Smith provides important background information and is followed by well presented information in this subfield of special education. [...] Smith's Introduction to Special Education  is the best overall text I have seen for a survey course in special education. [... ] I would also highly recommend this text to any instructor looking for a new text in any introductory special education course."

~ Karen R. Smith, The University of Texas of the Permian Basin


"I like the fact that she has a chapter that focuses on Multicultural and Bilingual Special Education because this is an area that I believe is overlooked not only in other textbooks but in Special Education classes. […] In many ways I believe that this book is easier to follow and relate to than the Turnbull book."

~ Josephine Fritts, Ozarks Technical Community College


"Deb has included a great deal of current research to define and explain ADHD. It is refreshing to see her elaborate on the information we do not have as well as what we do know about ADHD. [...] I am particularly delighted to see an emphasis on post-secondary transition planning with a view to higher education."

~ Mary Jane Hayes, Austin Peay State University


"The sections on Families and Technology are not found in all books of this type. These were helpful to me as someone who teaches a course on Collaborating with Families and seeks to implement the requirement of the state standards regarding the use and incorporation of technology. The life-span emphasis [is] appropriate for my students and I particularly like the fact that they reflected different regions of the country."

~ Patricia McClung, Lee University


"The features of this text are interesting and extremely relevant to the topics. They add multiple ways to access the information from different points. [...] The Advanced Organizer is a particular favorite of mine."

~ Barbara West, Bloomsburg University


"Novices to special education would find the writing level and tone acceptable, not talking down or too difficult for their ability. Students with learning disabilities will find the terminology defined within the text and multiple examples to aid their comprehension."

~ Lessie L. Cochran, Bowling Green State University


"The 'Tips for Effective Teaching' are some of the best suggestions that one could ask for."

~ Jerry Neal, Central Missouri State University

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

“Smith’s Introduction to Special Education is the best overall text I have seen for a survey course in special education.”
Karen S. Smith
The University of Texas of the Permian Basin

“This book is the rule rather than the exception.”
J’Anne Affeld
Northern Arizona University

“I like the fact that she has a chapter that focuses on Multicultural and Bilingual Special Education because this is an area that I believe is overlooked not only in other textbooks but in Special Education classes.
Josephine Fritts
Ozarks Technical Community College

“Deb has included a great deal of current research to define and explain ADHD.”
Mary Jane Hayes
Austin Peay State University

“The ‘Tips for Effective Teaching’ are some of the best suggestions that one could ask for.”
Jerry Neal
Central Missouri State University

New To This Edition

  • NEW Chapter on Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (Ch. 6)
  • Making a Difference sections open every chapter with examples of social responsibility, philanthropy, advocacy, and volunteerism by both well-known individuals and everyday citizens.
  • "What IDEA 2004/No Child Left Behind Says About ..." clarifies the practical meaning for teachers of these two federal initiatives.
  • Tips for Classroom Management provide ideas and suggestions for creating productive learning environments for all students.
  • Tips for Effective Teachers provide practical ideas with broad applicability to the areas of disability in many teaching situations.
  • Professional Standards and Licensure Tests tables conclude each chapter and show how CEC Common Core Knowledge and Skill Standards, INTASC Special Education Principles, and associated Praxis II topic areas can be applied to each major section of the chapter.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.3 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Poorly Written and Lacking Clarity 10 Jan 2010
By Jorge Fernandez - Published on Amazon.com
Our professor allowed us to use the sixth edition instead of the seventh edition because of how limited the number of changes in the newer version are. I of course opted for the much cheaper sixth version. After reading just the first two chapters of this book, I feel I know enough to give a review of this book. The book has good content, but the writing is poor. Not only is the book repetitive (How many times do you have to state that an IEP is unique to every individual?), it has an atrocious lack of copyediting. Take, for example, this sentence on pages 26-27: "The implications of this decision are enormous (Katsiyannis & Yell, 2000): the costs for additional personnel (potentially between $20,000 and $40,000 per school year), but increased liability for schoools, additional considerations for individualized education program (IEP) teams, the administrative costs for increased staff, and the complications of yet another adult in a classroom." There is also this on page 53 (in bullet point form): "NCLB considers teachers to be highly qualified if they can demonstrate adequate knowledge in the core academic subjects...that they currently teach by passing a state academic subject test; completing coursework equivalent to an academic major, degree, certification or credentialing; pass a 'high objecting uniform state standard of evaluation' (HOUSSE)". While it is possible to get what the author means in these sentences, it takes a while, as you are forced to ask "Am I reading this correctly?" and "What did the author intend to write?" because of the word "but" in the first sentence and the lack of a conjunction and parallelism at the end of the second one.

This poor writing translates into a lack of clarity at many parts of the book, as does internal contradiction. For example, due to one part of the book being updated, while another wasn't, page 34 stated that "Well over half of [students with disabilities] participate in general education classes for well over 80 percent of every school day", while page 51 states "...and today, if we include high school students, that proportion is even closer to half". I looked it up at the source given for 2005 (which was what both were referenced to), and it turns out that it was 54 percent making the second statement false. The first statement is poorly worded, however; 54 percent hardly qualifies as "well over half" and the statistic is not for "well over 80 percent of every school day" but simply "over 80 percent of every school day". I cannot speak on if the new version has the same kinds of mistakes. Hopefully, they have been fixed, but if you are buying from a brick-and-morter store, I would first check to see if these mistakes are still in there.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful introduction to the history and realities of special education 23 Feb 2007
By Yigal P. Weinstein - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I am training to be a California secondary teacher in Los Angeles County. It is a difficult job but a rewarding one. I am not interested, at least presently, in teaching special education but I will have to know how to deal with students with special needs. This book is well written, and includes all of the information one will need for an introduction to special education.
5.0 out of 5 stars everyone should read 26 Aug 2013
By Miss D - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
It doesn't matter if you are in special education or not- this book should be read by all who know somebody who is special or if you work in a school
5.0 out of 5 stars Special Education book 25 Sep 2010
By RandomGirl - Published on Amazon.com
Originally, the sender sent me the wrong book, but then after I notified her she was very professional and sent me the original book I ordered. The book is in fair condition just like it was described. There was some highlighting, but that doesn't bother me at all.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars special ed text book 19 Mar 2008
By happy girl - Published on Amazon.com
Well, what do you expect, it's a textbook!
I would not read it for pleasure, but as far as textbooks go, well, it's a typical textbook with basic info about special ed.
Goes through all different disabilities from emotional to ADD to hard of hearing.
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