An Interview with Ajay Singh: Handbook of Research on Critical Issues in Special Education for School Rehabilitation Practices

Mar 23, 2021 by

Michael F. Shaughnessy

1) Dr. Singh, you have just co-edited a book on, “Handbook of Research on Critical Issues in Special Education for School Rehabilitation Practices”. What brought this about?

Thanks for checking ! Last year, I edited my first book, which is already in 39 research libraries worldwide. So, I had a lot of pressure from my colleagues to start my second edited book, so I could cover more broader research/evidence based topics in my second book related to special education for school rehabilitation professionals. 

2) These are certainly critical times for special educators. What do you see as some of the most pressing issues?

Well, I personally don’t have any knowledge of such a comprehensive textbook for practitioners as well researchers in the field of special education for rehabilitation practitioners and researchers. So, I started this edited book project with three of my colleagues from the U.S. and Brazil. In this book we covered many broad topics for different audiences from pre K to higher education. 

3) I understand this was truly an international collaboration. Who were some of the co-editors that you worked with on this project?

Yes, it’s a completely international project. I invited one of my research colleagues from Brazil to join me as co-editor, and very experienced authors and researchers from Brazil, Columbia, India, Iran, Japan, Kenya, South Africa, and the United States who submitted their book chapters and some of their chapters were approved through a very rigorous double blind-review process.

4) For the purposes of this interview- let’s focus on perhaps three or four main realms. First, identification of students with disabilities- how important is this and how imperative is early intervention- and has anyone in your book written on this?

I have been working in the field of rehabilitation since 1990 and observed so many different exceptionalities and children with special needs . So, I decided to cover a few disabilities including, but not limited to autism, ADHD, Learning Disabilities (LD), Visual Impairments (VI), Intellectual Impairments (II), Conduct Disorder (CD), Preventing Disproportionality in Special Education With Culturally Responsive Teacher Preparation, Development Delay, Inclusive Education, School Readiness Program, Special Education in Brazil, the Mirage and Reality of Special Education in Developing Countries, School-Based Rehabilitation Services in India: What Can School Counsellors Do, School Rehabilitation Practices Using Multimedia-Enabled Dot Codes Technology, Artificial Intelligence Technology to Help Students With Disabilities, Personalizing Learning Targets With Technology-Based Assessment, The Clinical Utility of Psychometric Tests, and specific details for each chapter are listed below; 

Chapter 1, “Play Experiences in Early Childhood Education: Inclusion of Children With Special Needs,” was written by Professor Lin Moore from Texas Woman’s University, who is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (UK) and is a strong advocate for children’s and adults’ rights to play, Professor Elaine Zweig, from Collin College, Texas, (whose expertise in child development and special education with students in the Early Childhood Educator program), who offers an overview of the play approach and how it can support children with, and without, special needs in various ways from the developmental perspective, the benefits of using play, and some instructional strategies, which educators and school rehabilitation professionals, could also benefit. 

Chapter 2, “Preventing Disproportionality in Special Education With Culturally Responsive Teacher Preparation,” was written by Professor Alpana Bhattacharya at Queens College & Graduate Center, City University of New York, who is working as an Associate Professor of Educational Psychology in the Secondary Education and Youth Services department.

This chapter tackles one of the most recalcitrant, challenging issues in special education in the United States, disproportionality. The author provides focused attention on issues related to disproportionality and offers various approaches to addressing it including environmental factors and interactions, pedagogy, risk factors, and recommended strategies. 

Chapter 3, “A Systematic Review of the Use of Prompting for Preschoolers With Developmental Delay,” was written by two professionals who hold considerable expertise and have published many articles in the areas of assistive technology, developmental disabilities, gaming, digital literacy, and instructional design.

Dr. Soonhwa Seok, a senior and experienced researcher with several years of therapy experiences at Above and Beyond Therapy; Dr. Boaventura DaCosta, who works at the Solers Research Group and who has multiple articles published in the areas of Computer Science, Educational Technology, Instructional Design.

Through the systematic review, the two authors co-authored this chapter to address the critical areas of prompting, the relationship between prompts and disabilities, types of prompts and target skills for preschoolers with developmental delay (DD), and how to utilize them in multiple settings effectively. 

Chapter 4, “Pedagogical Practices in Teaching Students with Disabilities in Inclusive Education,” was written by K-12 school teachers Pankaj Khazanchi and Rashmi Khazanchi who work in the K-12 public school system in the Georgia Department of Education.

They discussed pedagogical practices in teaching students with disabilities in inclusive education. They also emphasize pedagogical and evidence-based/ research-based practices while teaching students with disabilities in any inclusive education settings. 

Chapter 5, “School Readiness Program: An Integral Component of Inclusive Education,” was penned by a very senior professor, famous psychiatrist and a medical & rehabilitation director at Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) plus in Government Rehabilitation Institute for Intellectual Disabilities (GRIID) and Dr. Wasim Ahmad, GRIID.

They presented a practical model of school readiness program for children with mild intellectual disabilities at GRIID in Chandigarh, India. 

Chapter 6, “Inclusive Education and Universal Design for Learning: A Road Map for Rehabilitation Professionals,” was written by former high school special education teacher Megan Cartier, a doctoral candidate at Syracuse University. This chapter reviews aspects of special education such as service delivery, collaboration, testing, documentation, and individualized plans and stresses the importance of Universal Design for Learning and collaboration within inclusive education. 

Chapter 7, “Special Education in Brazil: An Inclusive Perspective,” was written by a Psychologist and professor, Flavia Parente, from Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, and Professor Luciana Fontes Pessôa, from Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, who was Vice President of the Brazilian Psychology Association during 2018-2020.

This chapter proposes the historical perspective and addresses the paradigm shift from the medical model, and social model, toward the biopsychosocial model, and provides a summary of special and inclusive education in Brazil, identifies some Brazilian legislation features, and presents statistical data about the Brazilian students with disabilities. 

Chapter 8, “The Mirage and Reality of Special Education in Developing Countries,” by Joan Nyika, Technical University of Kenya, and Fredrick Madaraka Mwema, Dedan Kim at the University of Technology. This chapter provides a gentle introduction to the challenges that developing countries face implementing an inclusive, open, and accessible education system.

The authors also explored the expected developments in inclusive education defined by various international agreements and policies to compare these policies to reality using certain countries as case studies. 

Chapter 9, “Strategies for Social and Educational Inclusion in Visually Impaired People,” was done by Miguel Angel Brand Narvaez, Miguel A Mora Gómez, Brayan A Tabares Jaramillo, Alejandro A Osorio Ospina, and Juan David Hurtado Arrechea.

All authors are from Universidad del Valle, in Colombia. This chapter focuses on the development of tools containing the basics of Braille and methods that help the people to manage this type of language, which is a key aspect to enhance the strength of collective thinking in educational statements. The authors cover this topic within the World Health Organization framework and also provide a literature review of the topic of disability. 

Chapter 10, “School-Based Rehabilitation Services in India: What Can School Counsellors Do?” written by Thomas Jacob and Dr. Aneesh Kumar, who are working as an assistant professor of psychology and Coordinator for both undergraduate and graduate programs at the Department of Psychology, CHRIST (Deemed to be University).

This chapter emphasizes continuing life adjustment through the lens of a person-centered approach and familiarizes counselors with ways to create an environment/climate for the learners in school for them to develop to the fullest extent and learn to cope with life. A three-tier model of different interventions for use in school settings is provided by the authors. 

Chapter 11, “School Rehabilitation Practices Using Multimedia-Enabled Dot Codes Technology,” written by Shigeru Ikuta,of Otsuma Women’s University, Sachiko Ueda, (Yoshida Special Needs School), Minori Yamazaki, (Isesaki Special Needs School), Junko Niwa, (Kiryu Special Needs School), Norihisa Moriya, (Iruma Wakakusa Senior High School for Special Needs Education), Hiroyuki Fujieda, (Matsudo Special Needs School), Noriko Saotome, (Special Support School of the Cooperative, Faculty of Education, Utsunomiya University), and Shinya Abe, (Gridmark Inc.) is a chapter that presents a variety of resources of teaching materials that can enhance and improve the school achievement for students with disabilities.

The authors provided comprehensive and detailed materials, such as “Post-it-like” sticker icons, speaking-pen, and software packages. The authors were very clever in their choice of how to illustrate their chapter, and all figures bring a rich and detailed amount of information about the activities. 

Chapter 12, “Using Information and Communication Technologies to Address Inequities in Education for Learners with Disabilities in Higher Education: The Case of So,” was written by professor Vannie Naidoo at University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

This chapter discussed students who are given the opportunities to explore their academic talents at higher education to improve their lives in higher education. 

Chapter 13, “Artificial Intelligence Technology to Help Students with Disabilities: Promises and Implications for Teaching and Learning,” written by Rashi Kohli, senior member at the world’s largest technical professional organization, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE); Sparsh Plutela, & Anchal Garg, Amity University; and Professor Mark Viner, of Eastern New Mexico University in Portales, New Mexico.

They reviewed current and future artificial intelligence (AI) to meet the needs of various students with specific learning requirements plus AIED models, which were explored with diagnosis to improve learning by interventions. They discussed different existing software applications for improvement. 

Chapter 14, “Artificial Intelligence in Education: A Closer Look into the Intelligent Tutoring System,”was written by K-12 school teachers Pankaj Khazanchi and Rashmi Khazanchi who work in the K-12 public school-system in the Georgia Department of Education. They discussed current evidence-based practices related to current education development in theories and practices which advocate a more personalized student-centered approach to teaching in the 21st century. 

Chapter 15, “Personalizing Learning Targets With Technology-Based Assessment,” was written by experienced former educator and practitioner, Lauren Menard, Grand Canyon University.

Dr. Menard elaborates on the importance of personalization within instruction and assessment and provides a description of a technology-based model that includes creating SMART goals and progress monitoring. 

Chapter 16, “The Clinical Utility of Psychometric Tests: A Real-Data Approach From a Study Including Children With ADHD,” was written by three neurology researchers from Brazil: Professor Luis Anunciação from Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, who holds a Ph.D. degree in psychometrics, Dr. Marco A Arruda, who is a medical doctor specializing in child and adolescent neurology, as well as Professor J. Landeira-Fernandez, from Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, who was a Brazilian Book Award finalist and who has published over 200 articles around the world in a wide range of fields.

This chapter provides a thorough introduction of psychometric tests, presents the integration of real data from children with and without ADHD from Brazil, educates readers on many psychometric concepts, and presents and understanding of some clinical utility features, psychometric tests, and some statistical concepts. 

Chapter 17, “Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD),” written by Dr. Shailaja Pokhriyal, a clinical psychologist at BLK Super-specialist Hospital in New Delhi, India. She discussed ADHD in her chapter and provided insights into the condition, causes, treatment and rehabilitation of ADHD. She also discussed causes of ADHD, and evidence-based practices. 

Chapter18,

“Overview of Conduct Disorder:Implications for School Rehabilitation Professionals,”by four professionals from diverse training backgrounds, Professor Michael Shaughnessy from Eastern New Mexico University, who is a very senior professor who holds his Doctorate in Educational Psychology from the University of Nebraska- Lincoln and has many years of experiences in special education and with students with multiple disabilities (e.g., Head Injury and Brain Trauma and Deaf/Blind students). Professor Shaughnessy was the past Editor-in-Chief for four years (2016-2020) with Gifted Education International (Sage publication).

Two other educators, Mark Williams II, Carl Michael Carlson, from Eastern New Mexico University, and Professor Chia Jun Yeh, from East Carolina University, who serves many editorial boards as an editor and reviewer worldwide plus wrote her first edited book last year with IGI Global.

This chapter presents an overview of conduct disorder from current research studies, followed evidence-based practice, and further introduces the risk factors, symptoms, diagnostic criteria, and treatment options to better understand the condition and discusses preventions and interventions within the school and classrooms. 

Chapter 19, “Autism Spectrum Disorder: Early Signs,’’ was written by Dr. Mariana de Miranda Seizure and Dr. Juliane Callegaore at PUC-Rio, Brazil. They discussed screening for early signs of autism spectrum disorder before the age of 36 months. They discussed early warning signs of autism spectrum disorder in children between 24 and 36 months of age in the domains which most characterize the autism spectrum disorder (ASD). 

Chapter 20, “Automatic Detention and Assessment of Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Systematic Review,” written by Professor Thanga Aurthy, Professor Menaka R, and Dr. Karthik R, Vellore of the Institute of Technology (VIT), India. They discussed children with neurodevelopmental disorders which are increasing gradually every year. They examined clinical methods and analysis in various research studies related to brain function disorder (BFD), autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). 

Chapter 21, “Autism and Parenting in Different Cultures: Being the Mother of a child With Autism in a Cultural Context,” written by Professor Esra Akgul, Fatih Sultan Mehmet Vakif University, Turkey an experienced researcher with a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from Penn State University.

Through examining the literature on autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and familial culture, the author provides a case study for considerations around communication with families of children with ASD. 

Chapter 22, “Managing Behavioral Emotional Problems in Inclusive Classrooms and Understanding the Best Practices,” written by Wasim Ahmad (Govt Rehabilitation Institute for Intellectual Disabilities-Panjab University Chandigarh India) and Parveen S (Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda Educational and Research Institute, Coimbatore).

Both are assistant professors in special education, Drs. Ahmad and Parveen S are experienced, well-published scholars. The authors discuss challenges of having classrooms with diverse learners and best practices for classroom teachers to manage behavioral challenges. 

Chapter 23, “Dyscalculia: Difficulties in Making Arithmetical Calculation,” was written by four professionals: Prof. Anjana Prusty, from the SR University, Warangal, India, (specialization in Clinical Psychology with many years of experiences as a Clinical and School Psychologist), Professor Chia Jung Yeh, from East Carolina University, her research areas include assessment, early math/English language arts education, STEM/STEAM education, math anxiety, and creative learning, Professor Rakesh Sengupta, from the SR University, Warangal, India, (who is a cognitive scientist specializing in vision, attention, and working memory) , and Ms. Ashley Miller who is a graduate student in the Department of Human Development and Family Science at East Carolina University.

Ms. Ashley Miller is working with Professor Chia Jung Yeh on a major research project. This chapter provides a comprehensive overview of dyscalculia, and offers a useful introduction of symptoms, warning signs, typical characteristics, diagnostic methods, and current intervention approaches based on evidence-based practice.

5) Communication and collaboration are critical elements of program delivery. Who has written on these topics and what seem to be the issues?

It’s all written by established researchers, professors and practitioners from few countries including but not limited to 

Brazil, Columbia, India, Iran, Japan, Kenya, South Africa, and the United States. Most of them are sound professionals in the field of rehabilitation, medicine, information technology, early childhood education, teacher education, psychology and special education.

6) Technology, the Internet are both pervasive issues- has anyone written in your book on these topics- and what seem to be the main concerns?

Yes, we covered a few chapters related to technology. It’s submitted by professionals from Japan, India and the United States.

7) Low incident issues seem to be increasing- what does your book tell us about this?

We did discuss it in some chapters. We hope that readers will find these chapters of assistance.

8) Who exactly publishes the book and do interested practitioners need to purchase the entire book or can they simply get a chapter of interest?

Well, it’s up to the interested practitioners or researchers or professors who want to use it for their classes, they can have either a chapter or a few or maybe a complete book.

It’s already included in the Library of Congress, MIT Libraries, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, and in the Justus-Liebig-Universitat GieBen (large public research university in Germany).

9) What have I neglected to ask?

Nothing! We really appreciate your time. 

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2 Comments

  1. Congratulations for this wonderful achievement to Dr Ajay Singh .

  2. Soundararaja

    Congratulations Dr Ajay Singh.Really appreciable very good job done . This book covers all the current developments in the rehabilitation and various useful methodologies applied by the experts covering all range of disabilities ,visual disability,on to ASD with various countries samples.Almost covered most of the disabilities who are getting included in schools.Analying and compiling all these information for the sake of all the professional who works in the rehabilitation field world wide ,Dr Ajay has done remarkable work.I wish him contribute many more to this field. My sincere prayers for his good health ,energy power and abilities to contribute many more

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