Looking critically: negative views of special education and responses
Challenges are sometimes made to the discipline of special education including its content and methods. Among these is the view that in special education a person – ‘the individual’ – is understood only in isolation. This chapter outlines the aspects of special education where an individual perspective is taken: deﬁnitions of disabilities and disorders, identiﬁcation and assessment, causal factors, prevalence, the individual emphasis of many of the disciplines that underpin special education. Criticisms of these individualising aspects are then examined. I consider the notion of the individual, individualism and psychologisation. Next I look at cognitivism, developmentalism, normalisation and ableism. Possible alternatives to self-contained individualism that have been put forward are examined and their limitations discussed.