How to Read Websites Regarding Disability Categories (Examples)

by PammyMcB

Emotional Disturbance

http://www.pslgroup.com/dg/4d1fa.htm

How do the authors of the website create a sense of authority within the website?

The name of the website, the Doctor’s Guide to Medical and Other News, gives it a sense of authority as well as the use of credible sources.

Four points described that I was drawn to:

  1. I was drawn to the title of the article.
  2. I was also drawn to the fact that the report was done by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
  3. I was drawn to the fact they used quotes from the CEO of the National Mental Health Association, Michael Faenza.
  4. I was also drawn to the fact the article made bold claims, which were backed up by statistics from the study.

Four points described that indicate I should be cautious about:

  1. One of the things that made me a bit cautious was that all dot com websites are suspect because they are commercial sites.
  2. Another issue that was suspect was that the study only included 8 community-based studies, but the size of and type of community is not disclosed in the article.
  3. I was also suspicious about the fact that the sample size was not given; therefore, the results may be skewed.
  4. Another issue that was suspect to me was that there is a solution to the problem given, but the problem is not thoroughly discussed.

Speech Impairment

http://www.voanews.com/english/archive/2008-11/2008-11-06-voa47.cfm?CFID=77452741&CFTOKEN=28545778

How do the authors of the website create a sense of authority within the website?

The authors of the website are employs of the Voice of America news group. The authors of the article use trigger words to gain a sense of authority. They do not successfully support their claim because the information included in the article contradicts itself.

Four points described that I was drawn to:

  1. The first statement in the article grabbed my attention because the authors started the article with “Researchers have identified.”
  2. Later, they keep my attention by restating the claim as “Scientists have identified.”
  3. The study identified in the article came from the Wellcome Trust Center for Human Genetics at Oxford University.
  4. The findings of the study were published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Four points described that indicate I should be cautious about:

  1. The study was only done on 184 families; therefore, the sample size was relatively small.
  2. A researcher at Rutgers University in New Jersey is concerned about the findings of the study.
  3. The same researcher believes that more research is needed.
  4. The study was not initially done to specifically prove that CNTNAP2 is linked to speech impairments.

Mild Mental Retardation

http://www.faqs.org/health/Sick-V3/Mental-Retardation.html

How do the authors of the website create a sense of authority within the website?

From the URL given, the website gives a sense of authority. The authors also lay the site out to where it looks like a professional website.

Four points described that I was drawn to:

  1. The top of the page grabbed my attention because it says the site is a Free Health Encyclopedia.
  2. The site mentions the rating scales often used to determine intellectual disabilities.
  3. The site uses a picture of and description of brothers that have mental retardation.
  4. The site has links to the American Association on Mental Retardation, and The Arc of the United States.

Four points described that indicate I should be cautious about:

  1. Although the site uses AAMR as a source, the definition is not the official definition of mental retardation.
  2. The descriptions of the levels of mental retardation do not mention the standard deviation.
  3. The authors give a lot of information as fact, but they do not cite the facts or statistics.
  4. Some of the information on the site can be misleading, such as an entire section devoted to putting the blame on the mother of the child.

Other Health Impairments

http://www.spiritlakeconsulting.com/COPT/intro/otherhealth.html

How do the authors of the website create a sense of authority within the website?

The name of the website, Spirit Lake Consulting, Inc. gives the website a sense of authority.

Four points described that I was drawn to:

  1. The way the information was written made the site easy to understand.
  2. The site gives several statistics.
  3. The site has good links.
  4. The site helps to bring minimal awareness about the needs of children with OHI in the educational setting.

Four points described that indicate I should be cautious about:

  1. Although the site gives good statistics, it doe not mention where the statistics come from.
  2. There is no scientific based evidence mentioned to support the information given, and without scientific based evidence, the information may be biased or skewed.
  3. Although there are links to IDEA and Section 504, it is not mentioned in the article. Therefore, parents who see this website may not understand the process to which they can gain services for their child.
  4. There are very few specific details on disabilities, and what disabilities that are discussed are not thoroughly explained and discussed.

Learning Disabilities

http://school.familyeducation.com/learning-disabilities/special-education/34455.html

How do the authors of the website create a sense of authority within the website?

The website looks very professional and the fact that the site is titled family education gives it a sense of authority.

Four points described that I was drawn to:

  1. There are good links on the site.
  2. There are good stats and citations in the links.
  3. The quizzes are easy to use.
  4. The site is part of Pearson Education, Inc.

Four points described that indicate I should be cautious about:

  1. Self-diagnosis and online diagnosis is dangerous.
  2. The site is a dot com site which is a commercial site, which takes away from the credibility of the authors.
  3. The quizzes rely on at home behavior.
  4. The quizzes also rely on parent’s input, which may be biased or skewed.
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