Free AIOU Solved Assignment Code 672 Spring 2021
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Course: Perspective of Special Education (672)
Semester: Spring, 2021
Q.l Describe the need of special education with specific reference to the prevailing situation in Pakistan?
With the advent of modernization, the trend and the technology have changed, but the way of thinking of people still remains the same. Society often neglects the children and the people that have some kind of learning disabilities. Due to this, most of the time they receive negative feedback from their schools and could not be able to develop any kind of positive attitude to the outside world.
But, it is the right of every child to receive equal and same opportunity for receiving basic education. Special education is known due the policies and programs based on the education especially designed for the children that are gifted or handicapped, that have any kind of mental, physical or emotional disabilities. They require special type of teaching approaches or care or equipment that can be used both within and outside the regular classroom.
The special classes organized for these disable or gifted children have become necessity. It allows the students to enjoy the education and gain confidence due to individual learning. For the personal growth and development of the special children, it is important for all of them to receive proper education. The disability cases could include emotional, mental, physical or developmental. There are multiple numbers of impairments that a student could go through, like, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Multiple Disabilities, Developmental Delay, Traumatic Brain Injury, Orthopedic Impairment, Speech and Language Impairment, Visual and hearing Impairment (including blindness) and many more.
Therefore, it is necessary for the specially disabled children to maintain the pace in the learning process with the children that do not have any special need, as they have the right to fulfill the requirements and explore their own potential regardless of nay disability. The concept of special education mainly focuses on the designing of educational structure that has the potential to overpower the disadvantages of any disability along with helping the children to get quality education. So, it has become very important for the educator or the teacher to follow the classroom rules that could fulfill their requirements.
- 1. To meet the requirements of the students, proper and well-maintained instructions should be structured which can be faster or slower according to the need of the student. For providing individual attention to each student, the size of the class should be kept smaller. This will enable the student to understand the entire information provided to them by their tutors.
- 2. The educators of the special education should have well-determined education so that they can individually educate each student. Before the proper encoding of the information, repeated trials and opportunities should be given to them.
- 3. Tutors should use unique aids and tools for teaching students with special needs. Educators should use special and unique ideas for increasing their understanding towards the information given to them. They should adopt the trial and error methodology. Alternative usage of tools can performed, like if one tool does not work, tutor can use another tool that could easily replace the previous one.
- 4. Patience and tolerance is meant to be the most important key in the classroom of special education. With regards to the behavior of the student, positive attitude is essential. The cognitive capabilities can be affected by the wrong attitude of the teachers or the tutors.
Therefore, a special educator should always have certain qualities including intuitive, hard-working, good sense of humor, creative and a love for both children and teaching, as unless they will not create their focus, they would not be able to provide proper training to those specialized children. For carrying out the teaching pattern in a ease manner, the education course with special needs has become necessary and teachers can have the in-depth-understanding of different behavioral patterns and psyche of children with special needs. So, training also plays a significant role to become a teacher for special children.
There are some ways that can be helpful for a teacher to get a proper training and can help a child to overcome their learning, disability and exceptional issues. With these methods, a teacher can help student with their special needs.
- With a proper observation, a tutor can understand the learning needs and procedure of the child. A teacher who is enrolled in the field of special education plays an important role in the expansion and advancement of learning needs of special children.
- The 21stcentury is full of technologies and techniques. Everyone is advanced, so the teachers that cannot survive in the environment full of patience could not be able to go in a long run. He/she needs to be very dedicated, inventive, resourceful and determined, if they are working as a special education teacher.
- 3. It is the core responsibility of the special education teacher to become enough responsible so that the students could be able to achieve excellence irrespective of their disabilities.
- Being a teacher of special children, it is important for them to create lasting impression on your student. Student could be able to get inspiration from the teacher who is teaching them. A teacher can give the biggest reward to their student by giving them hope and encouragement.
- 5. It is only the dedicated tutor that provides special platform to the children having special needs along with the driving of their learning issues which can make their life success. It requires making necessary option for a special need education course.
The special education courses aims at providing training without leaving any gap in between. A good teacher in special education helps in making training before considering the importance of job responsibilities. A person or a student with any kind of disability can easily conquer the world by their hard-work and skills. For this, they should be given special opportunities without any terms and conditions. The development of broader education system allows the tutors to have specialized training with an urgent requirement.
AIOU Solved Assignment Code 672 Spring 2021
Q.2 Describe the steps taken by the Government of Pakistan for the development of special e3ducatin in Pakistan, during last two decades.
- Your child’s doctor will usually diagnose this before he turns three years old.
- Your child develops more slowly. He walks, talks, potty trains, or feeds himself later than other children.
- Your child might have troubles eating or sleeping. He might be sensitive to lights, sounds, tastes or smells.
- He might appear to not hear you. He might stare off into space. He might be fascinated by things that move, like fans or wheels.
- He might have trouble playing with other children. He might have trouble understanding or relating to other people
Deaf – Blindness
- Your child’s doctor will diagnose both a hearing and visual impairment.
- Your child does not have to be totally deaf and blind.
- For more signs, read hearing impairment and visual impairment in the chart.
Deafness – Hearing Impairment
- Your child has trouble hearing. She does not talk or her speech is still hard to understand after she turns two years old.
- She might be sensitive to very loud sounds. She might not hear soft sounds. Her voice might get louder when she talks.
- She might turn up the TV or radio to hear it.
- She might point, pull, or touch instead of talk. She might get upset or nervous in very loud places.
- Your child has trouble controlling his emotions.
- He might be aggressive. He might act out, fight, or hurt himself. He might get in trouble a lot at home and school.
- He might be hyper. He might have a short attention span. He might act without thinking.
- He might have trouble making friends. He might be afraid or nervous around other people.
- He might act immature. He might cry a lot or throw temper tantrums.
- He might appear unhappy or depressed most of the time. He might get headaches or tummy aches when he is really upset.
- Your child has a low IQ, generally below 70.
- Your child’s doctor will often diagnose this at a young age.
- Your child cannot learn as fast or as much as other children her age.
- She might walk, talk, dress, or feed herself later than other children.
- Your child has trouble using (or is missing) her fingers, hands, arms, legs, or feet.
- Your child might need a wheelchair or other help to move around the school.
Other Health Impairment
- Your child has medical problems that make it hard to participate in regular classroom activities.
- Your child’s doctor must diagnose a medical problem.
- Examples include asthma, attention deficit disorder (ADD) or attention deficit/ hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD), diabetes, epilepsy, a heart condition, hemophilia, lead poisoning, leukemia, nephritis, rheumatic fever, sickle cell anemia, and Tourette Syndrome.
Specific Learning Disability
- Your child has an average or high IQ, but still does not do well in school.
- She might have problems in reading, writing, or math. She might have problems listening, talking, or thinking.
- She might do very well or learn quickly in some subjects, but do very poorly in others.
- She might have trouble writing down what she is thinking. She might make mistakes when she reads out loud.
- She might have trouble following directions. She might have trouble figuring out how to start a task.
- Your child has trouble speaking or is hard for others to understand.
- He might not say all his letters correctly. He might mix up sounds. He might have a hard time getting out the word he is trying to say.
Traumatic Brain Injury
- Your child’s brain has been hurt in an accident or other injury.
- She might have trouble speaking, hearing, seeing, or thinking.
- She might have problems remembering. She might not be able to concentrate. She might have a short attention span.
- She might get tired easily. She might have bad mood swings.
- Your child has trouble seeing, even with glasses or contacts.
- He might squint while reading, watching TV, playing computer games, or playing video games. He might get headaches while doing these activities.
- He might have some sight or be legally blind.
- Your child has more than one of the problems already listed in the chart.
- She might have physical problems. She might have a hard time moving around the school.
- She probably has trouble communicating with others.
- She probably has behavior problems.
- She might forget skills that she does not use a lot. She might have to relearn things she has already been taught.
The following types of children are presently attending the BPF’s inclusive schools:
- Children with learning difficulties or low intelligence (Down’s syndrome, Turner’s syndrome, Microcephaly, Hydrocephaly, Hypothyroidism with speech delay, improper speech, mild to moderate intelligence). All of them are educable or trainable.
- Children with Multiple disabilities (cerebral palsy having physical disability, or with learning problems, speech difficulties, hearing problems, vision problems, etc.)
- Post Polio Paresis.
- Osteogenesis Imperfecta (brittle bone disease).
- Epilepsy with mild learning difficulties.
- Autistic traits etc.
There is a large number of children from poor socio-economic background and they have no access to any educational programme within the area. The parents are unable to meet the basic needs of their children, such as food, clothing and medical care, etc. BPF is committed to include all these children into their schools so as to make sure that no one was left out of any education programme.
Having had a long experience of training and teaching children with different types of disabilities from different backgrounds, BPF is in a good position to address the needs of children with different learning needs. Children with motor, hearing and visual impairments were readily accommodated in the classrooms by providing special aids and resources and/or removing architectural barriers. To address the learning needs of children with intellectual disability, the curriculum content and teaching methods had to be made flexible and specially designed according to the individual child’s needs and requirements. To remove socio-economic disparity, school uniforms were introduced. Nutritional supplements and medical treatments were provided to all the children of the schools.
According to the results obtained from the FGD with parents of disabled and non-disabled students, with teachers of “inclusive schools” and regular schools and with non-disabled students attending ‘inclusive schools’, it was evident that inclusive schools are having a positive impact on changing the attitude of the society at large.
FGD with Parents:
The parents of the disabled children were happy to be able to send their children to mainstream schools as they felt that by this approach the barrier to “inclusion” could be eliminated. Moreover by observing the success of their own children, they are able to start anew looking for the abilities rather than disabilities of their children more realistically (Table IV).
The parents of non-disabled children although hesitant in the beginning to allow their children to go to school with the disabled children, later had their attitude changed as they found that their children were happy to mix with the disabled peers with a helping attitude (Table IV).
FGD with Teachers:
The FGD with the teachers of inclusive schools revealed that there was much improvement in terms of independence, sociability as well as academic performance among both the disabled and non-disabled students. Therefore, teachers were willing to integrate not only the mildly disabled but also the severely disabled children in the mainstream schools with some individual attention (Table V). The teachers of the regular schools however were doubtful about their own capability of handling the disabled children. They demanded training prior to starting of any inclusive schools. It was also revealed from the FGD with teachers of regular schools and inclusive schools that once the teachers were exposed to dealing with all the children (i.e. disabled and non-disabled), there was a definite change in attitude. Surprisingly the difficulties in relation to disability disappeared and the teachers started “seeing all children as children” (Table V).
FGD with the Non-disabled Students:
The FGD with the non-disabled students of inclusive schools revealed that most of them expressed positive attitude towards the disabled peers. The school system also introduced partnership between a disabled child and a non-disabled child as “peer partner”. The non-disabled children were happy to know about the disabled children and felt it was a learning experience for them. All of them regarded it as their duty to help as they were part of the peer groups. Besides, the non-disabled children are found to have spontaneously helped their disabled peers in the classroom. Sometimes they even took turn to help them feed or take them to the toilets, or help clean their drooling mouths with handkerchieves. The “peer partnership” was proved to be very successful (Table VI).
The results of the mid-term and other class tests administered to all the children (disabled and non-disabled) revealed satisfactory performance of both two groups of students (Table VII). Surprisingly quite good percentage of disabled children had satisfactory and average performance. These seven inclusive schools as pilot schools should be served as an ‘eye opener’ for the government schools and schools run by NGOs. In a number of developing countries including India, children with disabilities have already been integrated into mainstream schools. In 1986, the National Policy on Education of India had included children with moderate disabilities as far as possible in the mainstream schools. In practice children with multiple and severe disabilities have also been integrated into the UNICEF assisted “Project Integrated Education for the Disabled” (PIED). However, prior to any such integrated school programme, teachers training either as pre-service or in-service is highly recommended (Jangira 1995). In fact, the philosophy of “Education For All” or “Inclusive Education” implies improving the learning achievements of children through the effective schools for all initiatives. The District Primary Education Programme (DPEP) funded by the World Bank in India has been running effectively in most of the states that in-service training for teachers is regarded as crucial to its success (Jangira, 1995).
In Bangladesh the Save the Children Alliance, BPF and UNICEP have been collaborating with UNESCO in spreading awareness regarding “Inclusive Education” among educationists and policy makers. The government needs to be sensitive about this issue so that a great stride can be made if all government schools are made “schools for all”.
Last but not the least, the positive attitude of donors in this regard also makes a lot of difference. The pilot schools of BPF are funded by ‘Job Placement’ in Australia. The sharing of ideas in terms of including the excluded from education and stretching their helping hand has gone a long way in the success of this programme. More such partners are welcome to take forward this ideology.
AIOU Solved Assignment 1 Code 672 Spring 2021
Q.3 Write the characteristics of visually impaired and Hearing Impaired children. What are the reasons of visual and hearing impairment?
any loss or abnormality of psychological, physiological or anatomical structure or function.
any restriction or lack (resulting from an impairment) of ability to perform an activity in the manner or within the range considered normal for a human being.
a disadvantage for a given individual that limits or prevents the fulfillment of a role that is normal
As traditionally used, impairment refers to a problem with a structure or organ of the body; disability is a functional limitation with regard to a particular activity; and handicap refers to a disadvantage in filling a role in life relative to a peer group.
Examples to illustrate the differences among the terms “impairment,” “disability,” and “handicap.”
David is a 4-yr.-old who has a form of cerebral palsy (CP) called spastic diplegia. David’s CP causes his legs to be stiff, tight, and difficult to move. He cannot stand or walk.
The inability to move the legs easily at the joints and inability to bear weight on the feet is an impairment. Without orthotics and surgery to release abnormally contracted muscles, David’s level of impairment may increase as imbalanced muscle contraction over a period of time can cause hip dislocation and deformed bone growth. No treatment may be currently available to lessen David’s impairment.
David’s inability to walk is a disability. His level of disability can be improved with physical therapy and special equipment. For example, if he learns to use a walker, with braces, his level of disability will improve considerably.
David’s cerebral palsy is handicapping to the extent that it prevents him from fulfilling a normal role at home, in preschool, and in the community. His level of handicap has been only very mild in the early years as he has been well-supported to be able to play with other children, interact normally with family members and participate fully in family and community activities. As he gets older, his handicap will increase where certain sports and physical activities are considered “normal” activities for children of the same age. He has little handicap in his preschool classroom, though he needs some assistance to move about the classroom and from one activity to another outside the classroom. Appropriate services and equipment can reduce the extent to which cerebral palsy prevents David from fulfilling a normal role in the home, school and community as he grows.
Cindy is an 8-year-old who has extreme difficulty with reading (severe dyslexia). She has good vision and hearing and scores well on tests of intelligence. She went to an excellent preschool and several different special reading programs have been tried since early in kindergarten.
While no brain injury or malformation has been identified, some impairment is presumed to exist in how Cindy’s brain puts together visual and auditory information. The impairment may be inability to associate sounds with symbols, for example.
In Cindy’s case, the inability to read is a disability. The disability can probably be improved by trying different teaching methods and using those that seem most effective with Cindy. If the impairment can be explained, it may be possible to dramatically improve the disability by using a method of teaching that does not require skills that are impaired (That is, if the difficulty involves learning sounds for letters, a sight-reading approach can improve her level of disability).
Cindy already experiences a handicap as compared with other children in her class at school, and she may fail third grade. Her condition will become more handicapping as she gets older if an effective approach is not found to improve her reading or to teach her to compensate for her reading difficulties. Even if the level of disability stays severe (that is, she never learns to read well), this will be less handicapping if she learns to tape lectures and “read” books on audiotapes. Using such approaches, even in elementary school, can prevent her reading disability from interfering with her progress in other academic areas (increasing her handicap).
Let’s use the terms above to explain the differences:
- Physical impairmentpertains to a loss of an anatomical structure; for the benefit of this exercise, let’s say the person lost a leg due to an accident. He can wear prosthetics as a replacement of the lost leg.
- Physical disabilitynow refers to the inability to walk. To be able to navigate the surroundings, the person can use a wheelchair.
- Physical handicapnow means that this person faces disadvantages that prevent him or her to perform a normal role in life, such as not being able to climb stairs anymore. Or run a marathon. Or be a basketball player. Here is where the environment plays a part. By providing wheelchair access or lift for the person with physical disability, he or she will have no problem going up to the next floors of a building. By providing multi-sport events for athletes with physical disabilities, such as Paralympics, the person will still able to participate in sports.
Let’s try another one:
- Dyslexia is an example of learning impairment, a reading impairmentin particular. Let’s say the student has an above-average intelligence as well as good vision and hearing. Therefore, the impairment is the brain’s inability to decode words to be able to read. The brain cannot correctly associate the sounds with the letter symbols.
- The inability to readis now the student’s learning disability. It can be improved by employing specific intervention programmes such as multi-sensory instruction in teaching reading.
- The person may experience various learning handicapsin school, and he or she may fail in class. For example, the student may not be able to complete the reading requirements in class. However, if certain adjustments are provided for the learner, such as taping lectures and listening to books on audiotapes, then he or she may fare well, similar to his or her peers. This will decrease the student’s handicap and will not interfere with his or her progress in school.
AIOU Solved Assignment 2 Code 672 Spring 2021
Q.4 What are the Uses of mental retardation? How is it measured? Write the characteristics of mentally retarded people.
Mental retardation (MR) refers to substantial limitations in present functioning. It starts before age 18 and is characterized by significantly subaverage intellectual functioning, existing concurrently with related limitations in two or more of the following applicable adaptive skill areas:
- home living
- social skills
- community use
- health and safety
- functional academics
Mental retardation: The condition of having an IQ measured as below 70 to 75 and significant delays or lacks in at least two areas of adaptive skills. Mental retardation is present from childhood. Between 2 and 3 percent of the general population meet the criteria for mental retardation. Causes of mental retardation include fetal alcohol syndrome and fetal alcohol effect; brain damage caused by the use of prescription or illegal drugs during pregnancy; brain injury and disease; and genetic disorders, such as Down syndrome and fragile X syndrome. Treatment of mental retardation depends on the underlying cause. In some cases, such as phenylketonuria and congenital hypothyroidism, special diets or medical treatments can help. In all cases, special education starting as early in infancy as possible can help people with mental retardation maximize their abilities.
Intellectual disability (ID) becomes apparent during childhood and involves deficits in mental abilities, social skills, and core activities of daily living (ADLs) when compared to same-aged peers. There often are no physical signs of mild forms of ID, although there may be characteristic physical traits when it is associated with a genetic disorder (e.g., Down syndrome).
The level of impairment ranges in severity for each person. Some of the early signs can include:
- Delays in reaching, or failure to achieve milestones in motor skills development (sitting, crawling, walking)
- Slowness learning to talk, or continued difficulties with speech and language skills after starting to talk
- Difficulty with self-help and self-care skills (e.g., getting dressed, washing, and feeding themselves)
- Poor planning or problem-solving abilities
- Behavioral and social problems
- Failure to grow intellectually, or continued infant childlike behavior
- Problems keeping up in school
- Failure to adapt or adjust to new situations
- Difficulty understanding and following social rules
In early childhood, mild ID (IQ 50–69) may not be obvious or identified until children begin school. Even when poor academic performance is recognized, it may take expert assessment to distinguish mild intellectual disability from specific learning disability or emotional/behavioral disorders. People with mild ID are capable of learning reading and mathematics skills to approximately the level of a typical child aged nine to twelve. They can learn self-care and practical skills, such as cooking or using the local mass transit system. As individuals with intellectual disability reach adulthood, many learn to live independently and maintain gainful employment. About 85% of persons with ID are likely to have mild ID.
Moderate ID (IQ 35–49) is nearly always apparent within the first years of life. Speech delays are particularly common signs of moderate ID. People with moderate intellectual disabilities need considerable supports in school, at home, and in the community in order to fully participate. While their academic potential is limited, they can learn simple health and safety skills and to participate in simple activities. People with moderate ID are capable of learning reading and mathematics skills to approximately the level of a typical child aged six to nine. As adults, they may live with their parents, in a supportive group home, or even semi-independently with significant supportive services to help them, for example, manage their finances. As adults, they may work in a sheltered workshop. About 10% of persons with ID are likely to have moderate ID.
People with Severe (IQ 20–34). accounting for 3.5% of persons with ID or Profound ID (IQ 19 or below) accounting for 1.5% of persons with ID need more intensive support and supervision for their entire lives. They may learn some ADLs, but an intellectual disability is considered severe or profound when individuals are unable to independently care for themselves without ongoing significant assistance from a caregiver throughout adulthood. Individuals with profound ID are completely dependent on others for all ADLs and to maintain their physical health and safety. They may be able to learn to participate in some of these activities to a limited degree.
Among children, the cause of intellectual disability is unknown for one-third to one-half of cases. About 5% of cases are inherited from a person’s parents. Genetic defects that cause intellectual disability, but are not inherited, can be caused by accidents or mutations in genetic development. Examples of such accidents are development of an extra chromosome 18 (trisomy 18) and Down syndrome, which is the most common genetic cause. Velocardiofacial syndrome and fetal alcohol spectrum disorders are the two next most common causes. However, there are many other causes. The most common are:
- Genetic conditions. Sometimes disability is caused by abnormal genes inherited from parents, errors when genes combine, or other reasons. The most prevalent genetic conditions include Down syndrome, Klinefelter syndrome, Fragile X syndrome (common among boys), neurofibromatosis, congenital hypothyroidism, Williams syndrome, phenylketonuria (PKU), and Prader–Willi syndrome. Other genetic conditions include Phelan-McDermid syndrome (22q13del), Mowat–Wilson syndrome, genetic ciliopathy, and Siderius type X-linked intellectual disability (OMIM: 300263) as caused by mutations in the PHF8 gene (OMIM: 300560). In the rarest of cases, abnormalities with the X or Y chromosome may also cause disability. Tetrasomy X and pentasomy X syndrome affect a small number of girls worldwide, while boys may be affected by 49, XXXXY, or 49, XYYYY. 47, XYY is not associated with significantly lowered IQ though affected individuals may have slightly lower IQs than non-affected siblings on average.
- Problems during pregnancy. Intellectual disability can result when the fetus does not develop properly. For example, there may be a problem with the way the fetus’s cells divide as it grows. A pregnant woman who drinks alcohol (see fetal alcohol spectrum disorder) or gets an infection like rubella during pregnancy may also have a baby with an intellectual disability.
- Problems at birth. If a baby has problems during labor and birth, such as not getting enough oxygen, he or she may have a developmental disability due to brain damage.
- Exposure to certain types of disease or toxins. Diseases like whooping cough, measles, or meningitis can cause intellectual disability if medical care is delayed or inadequate. Exposure to poisons like lead or mercury may also affect mental ability.
- Iodine deficiency, affecting approximately 2 billion people worldwide, is the leading preventable cause of intellectual disability in areas of the developing world where iodine deficiency is endemic. Iodine deficiency also causes goiter, an enlargement of the thyroid gland. More common than full-fledged cretinism, as intellectual disability caused by severe iodine deficiency is called, is mild impairment of intelligence. Residents of certain areas of the world, due to natural deficiency and governmental inaction, are severely affected by iodine deficiency. India has 500 million suffering from deficiency, 54 million from goiter, and 2 million from cretinism. Among other nations affected by iodine deficiency, China and Kazakhstan have instituted widespread salt iodization programs. But, as of 2006, Russia had not.
- Malnutrition is a common cause of reduced intelligence in parts of the world affected by famine, such as Ethiopia and nations struggling with extended periods of warfare that disrupt agriculture production and distribution.
- Absence of the arcuate fasciculus.
AIOU Solved Assignment Code 672 Autumn 2021
Q.5 How does family pattern change with the birth of special child?
Family structures of some kind are found in every society. Pairing off into formal or informal marital relationships originated in hunter-gatherer groups to forge networks of cooperation beyond the immediate family. Intermarriage between groups, tribes, or clans was often political or strategic and resulted in reciprocal obligations between the two groups represented by the marital partners. Even so, marital dissolution was not a serious problem as the obligations resting on marital longevity were not particularly high.
One Parent Households
One recent trend illustrating the changing nature of families is the rise in prevalence of single-parent families. While somewhat more common prior to the twentieth century due to the more frequent deaths of spouses, in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the nuclear family became the societal norm in most Western nations. But what was the prevailing norm for much of the twentieth century is no longer the actual norm, nor is it perceived as such.
In the 1960s and 1970s, the change in the economic structure of the United States –-the inability to support a nuclear family on a single wage–-had significant ramifications on family life. Women and men began delaying the age of first marriage in order to invest in their earning power before marriage by spending more time in school. The increased levels of education among women, with women now earn more than 50% of bachelor’s degrees, positioned women to survive economically without the support of a husband. By 1997, 40% of births to unmarried American women were intentional and, despite a still prominent gender gap in pay, women were able to survive as single mothers.
Cohabitation is an intimate relationship that includes a common living place and which exists without the benefit of legal, cultural, or religious sanction. It can be seen as an alternative form of marriage, in that, in practice, it is similar to marriage, but it does not receive the same formal recognition by religions, governments, or cultures. The cohabiting population, although inclusive of all ages, is mainly made up of those between the ages of 25 and 34. In 2005, the U.S. Census Bureau reported 4.85 million cohabiting couples, up more than 1,000% from 1960, when there were 439,000 such couples. More than half of couples in the United States lived together, at least briefly, before walking down the aisle.
Same- Sex Unions
While homosexuality has existed for thousands of years among human beings, formal marriages between homosexual partners is a relatively recent phenomenon. As of 2009, only two states in the United States recognized marriages between same-sex partners, Massachusetts and Iowa, where same-sex marriage was formally allowed as of May 17, 2004 and April 2009, respectively. Three additional states allow same-sex civil unions, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Vermont. Between May 2004 and December 2006, 7,341 same-sex couples married in Massachusetts. Assuming the percentage of homosexuals in Massachusetts is similar to that of the rest of the nation, the above number indicates that 16.7% of homosexuals in Massachusetts married during that time. Massachusetts is also the state with the lowest divorce rate.
Same sex couples, while becoming increasingly more common, still only account for about 1 percent of American households, according to 2010 Census data. About 0.5 percent of American households were same-sex couples in 2000, so this number has doubled, and it is expected to continuing increasing by the next Census data.
Voluntary childlessness in women is defined as women of childbearing age who are fertile and do not intend to have children, women who have chosen sterilization, or women past childbearing age who were fertile but chose not to have children. Individuals can also be “temporarily childless” or do not currently have children but want children in the future. The availability of reliable contraception along with support provided in old age by systems other than traditional familial ones has made childlessness an option for some people in developed countries. In most societies and for most of human history, choosing to be childfree was both difficult and undesirable. To accomplish the goal of remaining childfree, some individuals undergo medical sterilization or relinquish their children for adoption.