The Nature of Special Education: People, Places and Change: A Reader

The Nature of Special Education: People, Places and Change: A Reader

The Nature of Special Education: People, Places and Change: A Reader

The Nature of Special Education: People, Places and Change: A Reader

Synopsis

Contains a collection of brief case studies of children, families, professionals, curricula and schools which illustrate and illuminate contemporary methods in special education.

Excerpt

When we tried to think of a term to describe the pieces in this book we could not find one that was entirely satisfactory. They all describe single instances, of a child’s education or the job of a professional, of a remedial department in a comprehensive school or a timetabling system. They are examples or cases, but for a while we resisted calling them case-studies. To some ‘purists’ a case-study implies a detailed and comprehensive account of a single case in which all aspects and angles are described. We have not attempted to provide such a full picture, nor have we chased after an ideal of pure description. In many of the accounts we have combined description with an analysis which attempts to make sense of the facts. Most of our cases explicitly depict the view of one or two people, and often this view is our own. In fact, we have deliberately avoided producing an overall balance of views. We would hope that the cases in total reflect both the needs and wishes of children and their families, and the possibilities for greater involvement of children with special needs in their communities and in ordinary schools.

We thought of calling these accounts case-impressions to reflect their brevity and limited perspective but gave up trying to control the language of our colleagues who persisted in calling them ‘case-studies’, and no doubt that is the phrase which will be used.

We have concealed the real names of the people and places that are described except in one or two cases where we felt there was good reason for leaving them in. Even with anonymity, people who know a particular school or person will be able to recognise the ‘true’ identity, and we had some lengthy discussions with the people concerned, negotiating what could be published and what had to be omitted. Sometimes this was a straightforward matter of ‘getting the facts straight’ but at other times it was an attempt to retain the essence of the truth whilst avoiding conflicts between professionals or between professionals and their employers. We have tried to avoid the

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