Special Education and Ecological Assessments

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  • 0:07 Special Education and…
  • 0:44 Definition of…
  • 1:38 Information Included
  • 3:30 Use in Individualized…
  • 5:35 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Erin Long-Crowell
An ecological assessment is one type of assessment that is used to help students that have special needs. In this lesson, we discuss ecological assessments, what they entail, and how they are used.

Special Education and Ecological Assessments

This is Dave. Dave attends Cornerstone Elementary and is in the second grade. Dave's a pretty smart kid, but he has a behavioral disorder, which can adversely affect his educational performance. For example, when Dave first started at Cornerstone, he sometimes acted very inappropriately in certain classes.

However, now that certain adjustments have been made, Dave appears to be much happier overall and behaves more appropriately. This is partly due to the special education ecological assessment that was performed not too long after Dave started.

Definition of Ecological Assessment

An ecological assessment is a comprehensive process in which data is collected about how a child functions in different environments or settings. Sometimes, students eligible for special education perform or behave well in some environments but have difficulty in others. For example, at school, a student may be calm during class time but is always upset in the cafeteria. Our friend Dave was normally very well behaved during math and science class but could act very inappropriately during language and art. Other children even have school phobia, which is an irrational, persistent fear of going to school. These children seem fine at home but consistently become anxious, depressed, or scared every time they have to go to school.

Information Included

Information for an ecological assessment is often obtained through observation. However, information can also be gathered through student records and interviews with the student and his or her family.

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