Special Education Students

“I believe it’s time for a paradigm shift in the field of special education.”

In an article by Thomas Armstrong, a former Special Education Teacher, Mr. Armstrong writes about his “excitement and hope that he could really make a difference in the lives of students with special needs.”  Although after becoming a special education teacher in 1976, he found that special education was a very different place from the one he had envisioned.

Mr. Armstrong found that there was “virtually no mention of unleashing human potential, developing children’s strengths, or introducing students to the joy of learning.”  He found that “instead of embracing the richness of children’s lives, I encountered diagnostic tests, behavioral checklists, and hundreds of instructional objectives.”

In the article, Mr. Armstrong talks about “historical baggage” by the pioneers of special education who coined phrases such as: Moron, Retard, Minimal Brain Injury, or Learning Disability and how these phrases make “it particularly difficult for people in the field of special education to break out of this institutionally based deficit orientation into a new and more affirmative perspective – one that is proactive in its approach toward children with special needs.”

“The concept is neurodiversity.  The term, which was coined by Australian autism-activist Judy Singer and American journalist Harvey Blume in the late 1990′s, suggests that what we’ve called in the past “disabilities” ought to be described instead as “differences” or “diversities.”  Proponents of neurodiversity encourage us to apply the same attitudes that we have about biodiversity and cultural diversity to an understanding of how different brains are wired.  It’s time to clearly acknowledge and fully integrate a strength-base approach to learning into special education research and practice.” said Mr. Armstrong.

To read the full article “Appreciating Special Education Students’ Diversity, click here. 

At The Maher Law Firm, it is our desire to educate and empower parents, educators, doctors, therapists and community partners in the spirit of advocacy and commitment to those with “Neurodiversity” and their families.  Let us help you, contact us today.

 

 

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