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Teaching disability / 1 August 2008

Having many friends within the Disabled People’s Movement who came up through the special educational system, I’ve been given a bit of an insight into just how effective this system works. O.K, there are those who have come through it and have carved a niche for themselves, for example as Disabled academics (mostly women now I come to think about it). But for the most, being singled out from an early age as special, along with the inevitable self fulfilling prophesy that comes with being told that you are second class, means that they’ve really been set up to fail from the start. teaching cartoon

This is never more so than with children who are labeled as having a learning disability - and who now comes in so many different assortments and flavours! Seen as unsuitable, for whatever reason for inclusion within the normal educational system, they are side-lined into these special schools and kept well apart from normal kids (well, we don’t want the other children to catch anything do we?!).

My cartoon attempts to take a more Social Model approach and stand the whole hypothesize on its head. What if it’s not the children who are learning disabled, but the tutors who are teaching disabled?! Perhaps the educators are the ones who are failing to make the grade, and who need to be located in a special place in order that they can be shown the error of their ways?

But that can’t be right. It would mean that the powers-that-be have been mismanaging our children’s education all along, and have actually got it wrong. Surely not?!