Deconstructing Disability

  • Published 2008


A — R E A D I N G VOICES IN THE INCLUSION MOVEment have taken a position of philosophical contradiction that may impede the movement's ability to convince other educators of the value of ending segregationist practices. During the past 15 years, inclusion leaders have advocated for the rights of disability-labeled students to be treated as "full-fledged human beings" (Lipsky & Gartner, 1987), lamenting that many educators hold stigmatizing and negative attitudes toward students "with disabilities" (Gartner & Lipsky, 1987; Lipsky & Gartner, 1996a; Stainback & Stainback, 1984; Wang, Reynolds, &Walberg, 1988; Wang & Walberg, 1988). As the national proponents of inclusion have created the foremost progressive edge of disability advocacy, their writings have contributed to the common assumption that specific conditions of behavioral and learning limitation or deficiency exist "in" identified students. Assertions that certain students "have" handicaps or are "with" disabilities have been stated in the midst of arguments striving to convince educators to accept such students into general education settings (e.g., Gartner & Lipsky, 1987; Lipsky & Gartner, 1996a; Lipsky & Gartner, 1996b; for a non-example, see Kliewer & Biklen, 1996). By failing to question and contest the disability construct as universally true and real, inclusion advocates have unintentionally worked against their own integrationist and civil rights purposes, supporting the devaluation and stigmatization of students "with disabilities" while decrying the same. Where the inclusion movement has erred is not so much in developing techniques for integration or in championing a moral direction for educators but in articulating a logical and consistent philosophy that supports the nonexclusionary education of all students. Continued support of the commonly accepted concept that physiological or psychological disabilities exist in specific individual students no longer supports the philosophical and practical purposes of inclusion advocacy. A philosophy that opposes and subverts the disability construct in practical and scholarly work is necessary if inclusion is to move forward to a status of general acceptance. The intellectual work of creating such a philosophy is no short order. The authors of this article do not claim to

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@inproceedings{2008DeconstructingD, title={Deconstructing Disability}, author={}, year={2008} }