Disability Research WebQuest

Introduction l Question l The Process & Resources l Conclusion l Evaluation


Classroom teachers are assuming more and more responsibility for meeting the needs of students from a larger number of diverse backgrounds and with increasingly diverse special needs. Many practicing teachers identify students with special needs as their greatest concern and challenge, but often one of their greatest rewards.

The primary purpose of this WebQuest is to help you learn about specific types of special needs and the educational implications of these needs.

The secondary purpose is for you to experience project-based learning while completing an authentic task. The project is a presentation and the authentic task is exploring the resources and means of researching a disability.

Finally, another purpose is to introduce you to WebQuests, a method of supporting and directing student research and participation in project-based learning.

Enjoy the Quest!

Questions & Task

The Questions:

  1. Who are the children with disabilities/special needs (characteristics)?

  2. Where are children with disabilities/special needs educated in Chester County?

  3. What are the educational implications of this disability/special need?

  4. What can teachers do to ensure a "free and appropriate education" for all students?

  5. What recourses are available to help teachers in their efforts?


The Task:

You will work as a group to prepare a presentation of no more than 20 minutes regarding the specific disability you have been assigned.

  1. The presentation should answer the above questions by including the following information.

    Legal definition and characteristics of the disability

    Background information of interest to teachers

    Educational implications of the disability (interaction with teaching methods and curriculum)

    Websites and other resources of special interest to teachers


The Process and Resources

The Process:

  1. You and your partner will decide how to collaborate on this assignment.

  2. Then you must decide what tasks are required and who will do each task.

  3. You should complete your assigned portion of the Webquest. Then decide if you need additional information from other resources. Pursue those resources.

  4. When information gathering is complete, you and your partner must plan your presentation.

  5. The presentation may be as creative as you wish (as long as we maintain some decorum and professionalism).

  6. You may use PowerPoint to present, or you may include any other visuals (such as a handout) or any other presentation aids you wish.

  7. You should seek help when you need it.


  1. Background: Read the information and build a knowledge base about disabilities

    The Law: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

    Definitions of Disabilities: http://www.ideapractices.org/law/regulations/glossaryIndex.php

    24th Report to Congress on the Implementation of IDEA-97
    Students Ages 6-21 served under IDEA

    High School students with disabilities

    Graduation Rates of students with disabilities

    Quick Facts about schools in South Carolina: http://www.myscschools.com/reports/fact00.htm

    U. S. Bureau of Census:  http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/45000.html

    Kid's Count homepage: http://www.aecf.org/kidscount/census/

    Kid's Count for Chester, South Carolina: http://www.sckidscount.org/kc03.asp?COUNTYID=12#Scholastic


  1. Looking Deeper: Learn about a specific disability

    1. Mental Retardation (MR):
      Since 1876, American Association for Mental Retardation (AAMR) has been providing leadership in the field of mental retardation. AAMR is the oldest and largest interdisciplinary organization of professionals (and others) concerned about mental retardation and related disabilities. http://www.aamr.org/index.shtml  Once you are at the home page, visit the Reading Room.
      The Association of Retarded Citizens (ARC) is the national organization of and for people with mental retardation and related developmental disabilities and their families. It is devoted to promoting and improving supports and services for people with mental retardation and their families. The association also fosters research and education regarding the prevention of mental retardation in infants and young children. http://www.thearc.org/about.htm When you get here, go to the Information section.

      The President's Committee on Mental Retardation (PCMR) is a federal advisory committee, established by presidential executive order to advise the President of the United States and the Secretary of Health and Human Services on issues concerning citizens with mental retardation, and coordinate activities between different federal agencies and assess the impact of their policies upon the lives of citizens with mental retardation and their families. http://www.acf.dhhs.gov/programs/pcmr/ At this link you will find more information on education of persons with MR. http://www.acf.dhhs.gov/programs/pcmr/help.htm

    2. Learning Disabilities (LD):

      Ldonline: The Coordinated Campaign for Learning Disabilities (a coalition of the leading national learning disability organizations) sponsors this resource for parents, teachers and students who want to know more about learning disabilities. http://www.ldonline.org/

      National Center for Learning Disabilities: Devoted to improving the lives of those with learning disabilities. Provides legal information and links to book lists and government agencies. http://www.ncld.org/

      Learning Disabilities Association (LDA): is a national, non-profit organization. Their purpose is to advance the education and general welfare of children and adults of normal or potentially normal intelligence who manifest disabilities of a perceptual, conceptual, or coordinative nature. http://www.ldanatl.org

      LD Resources: A website that lists information about resources for all persons who are interested in learning disabilities. Note the links found on the left of the home page. Go to Electronic Texts and Books/Videos for a wealth of information regarding those topics. Be careful, I spent two hours on this site today!  http://www.ldresources.com

      Internet Special Education Resources: ISER is a nationwide directory of professionals who serve the learning disabilities and special education communities. We help parents and caregivers find local special education professionals to help with learning disabilities and attention deficit disorder assessment, therapy, advocacy, and other special needs. www.iser.com/

      International Dyslexia Association: Learn more about dyslexia or find information about membership, conferences, technology, and research. Explore the kids only site, online bookstore and message boards. http://www.interdys.org

      Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) is an international, professional association with over 52,000 educator members. Their principal purpose is to advance the education of all exceptional children and youth - those with disabilities and those who are gifted. DLD is the division of the CEC that focuses on the special needs of individuals with learning disabilities.  http://www.dldcec.org 

      The Council for Learning Disabilities (CLD) is an international organization concerned about issues related to students with learning disabilities. http://www.cldinternational.org

      Schwab Learning Organization: A non-profit organization that conducts independent research and provides information about learning disabilities. http://www.schwablearning.org

      Hello Friend is sponsored by the Ennis Cosby (son of actor, Bill Cosby) Foundation. The page you start with has a short video clip featuring successful people and students talking about their learning differences. You need QuickTime to watch it and if you use a dial-up connection it may be too cumbersome to watch. http://www.hellofriend.org/store/gift_bb.html While you are in this site be sure to read what students say about effective teachers @ http://www.hellofriend.org/hellofriend/ctat.html

    3. Speech and Language Disorders (SLD):

      American Speech-Language-Hearing Association http://www.asha.org

      Articulation difficulties: http://stutteringhomepage.com  

      National Stuttering Association USA's largest self help organization for people who stutter. http://www.nsastutter.org/index.html 

      Communication Disorders.com: The website (maintained by Judith Kuster, an ASHA certified SLP and professor at Minnesota State University) contains links and information on a broad range of topic related to communication disorders.  http://communicationdisorders.com

    4. Emotional and Behavior Disorders (EBD):

      Links to sites about Emotional Disorders http://www.raevans.com/msub42.htm

      National alliance for the Mentally Ill: The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) is a nonprofit, grassroots, self-help, support and advocacy organization of consumers, families, and friends of people with severe mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia, major depression, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and anxiety disorders.    http://www.nami.org/

      The Child Psychologist: This is a private psychologistís web site that provides information about the Functional Behavior Assessment required by regulations in IDEA.  http://www.childpsychology.com/fba_bip/index.htm

      Kentucky State Behavior Home Page: This site provides techniques and information to help teachers and caregivers work with students who have behavior disorders. http://www.state.ky.us/agencies/behave/homepage.html

      Internet Mental Health: is a virtual encyclopedia of mental health information. http://www.mentalhealth.com

      Center for Effective Collaboration and Practice: This site provides resources on issues of emotional and behavioral problems in children and youth. Click on Mental Health in the left column. http://cecp.air.org/index.htm

      Disruptive Behavior Disorders http://www.athealth.com/Practitioner/Newsletter/FPN_3_7.html

      Behavior Disorders/Emotional Disturbance: Special Education Resources on the Internet


    5. Attention Disorder and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD):

      For more information on ADHD and Ritalin, refer to the Mayo Clinic site: http://www.mayoclinic.com/invoke.cfm?id=DS00275

      A web site for women and girls with ADHD. Note: This website is sponsored by Advantage Books Publishers. http://www.addvance.com/

      National Attention Deficit Disorder Association:  NADDA's mission is to help people with ADD lead happier, more successful lives through education, research, and public advocacy. http://www.add.org/

      CHADD is a nonprofit parent-based organization formed to better the lives of individuals with attention deficit disorders and those who care for them. http://www.chadd.org/

      National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities has a comprehensive site about ADHD. http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/

    6. English Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL):

      A Professor Emeritus in the Department of Secondary Education at California State University, Northridge has build a website for preparing teachers to work in ESL and bilingual classrooms includes links to lesson plans and resources that should prove valuable in the classroom. http://www.csun.edu/~hcedu013/eslindex.html

      The National Association of Bilingual Education: This organization is concerned with the quality of education received by students whose native language is not English. http://www.nabe.org

      Multicultural education information is available at the Curry School of Education site. http://curry.edschool.virginia.edu/go/multicultural/teachers.html

      National Association for Multicultural Education was founded in 1990 to support efforts in educational equity and social justice. http://www.nameorg.org/

      Clearinghouse for Multicultural/Bilingual Education: http://www.weber.edu/mbe/htmls/mbe.html

    7. Students at Risk for School Failure

      Office of Vocational and Adult Education (U.S. Depart. of ED.) website on at-risk and drop-outs that leads to many links and helpful resources. http://www.ed.gov/offices/OVAE/HS/studentrisk.html


      Using Technology with at-risk: http://www.ncrel.org/sdrs/areas/issues/students/atrisk/at400.htm

      Effective Schooling Practices and At-Risk Youth:
      What the Research Shows

      National Dropout Prevention Center serves as a research center and resource network for practitioners, researchers, and policymakers to reshape school and community environments to meet the needs of youth in at-risk situations so these students receive the quality education and services necessary to succeed academically and graduate from high school. http://www.dropoutprevention.org/

      Department of Guidance and Social Work in Wake County, NC Public Schools provides program leadership working with other to lower their dropout rates. This site offers many resources for school personnel. http://www.wcpss.net/Instructional/guidance/dropoutprevention.html

      National Association of School Psychologists offers a paper School Dropout Prevention: Information and Strategies for Parents which contains many helpful suggestions that teachers can use as well at http://www.naspcenter.org/adol_sdpp.html . In addition you can get more information by surfing their website from that page.

      Children who are homeless: NCH Fact Sheet #10 Published by the National Coalition for the Homeless, July 2001 http://nationalhomeless.org/edchild.html  See below to additional links.
      National Coalition for the Homeless
      National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth
      Institute for Children and Poverty / Homes for the Homeless
      National Law Center of Homelessness and Poverty


  2. Additional resources: if you need more information, visit this website. http://coe.winthrop.edu/eversr/Websites.htm


The Quest is over. Take a moment to reflect on the journey and what you have learned. We will discuss the purpose of the Quest after the presentations are completed. As a reminder, here are the three purposes of this activity.

The primary purpose of this WebQuest is to help you learn about specific types of special needs and the educational implications of these needs. Was this an effective method for you?

The secondary purpose is for you to experience project-based learning while completing an authentic task. The project is a presentation and the authentic task is exploring the resources and means of researching a disability. Reflect on project-based learning. . .was this your first experience? Was it an effective method for your learning?

Finally, another purpose is to introduce you to WebQuests, a method of supporting and directing student research and participation in project-based learning. Share your respond to WebQuests as a way to deliver content and promote student independence while ensuring required content is learned. What about students with special needs and WebQuests? Why would this be an effective way to differentiate instruction?

Evaluation of the Presentation: Rubric