11-4 “All Our Children Are Special” Resource Guide

May 15th, 2000 | By | Category: 11-4: All Our Children Are Special, Resource Guides
By Jim Green, M.Ed., and Judy Smith Davis, Ph.D.

Do some students appear “disabled” because of the way classrooms and tests are set up? The social construction of disability phrase refers to the fact that our cultural and social environment affects how we act. Think of a child who comes from a home where they don’t ask a lot of direct questions. What might be that child’s experience when they first attend school? Will the social environment of the classroom affect how the child acts? Could it also affect how the child’s abilities are assessed?

Before looking outside, give some thought to your own resources. Here’s an example. The term “disability” in special education often depends on a comparison between a student’s learning activities and the group average for performing those learning activities. If a student’s performance is significantly below the group norm, he or she might be considered “disabled.” Do you find that comparing an individual to others is typical of Native communities? What might be the meaning of “disability” in a traditional American Indian or Native American community?

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