chapter  2
Shifting Perspective to Frame Disability Policy
ByWayne Sailor, Leonard C. Burrello
Pages 20

We have argued in Chapter One that a human development and capabilities perspective is more useful not only to replace what has been largely a human rights and advocacy approach but to provide insights into what might constitute a new practice, a social justice practice. As a social justice practice, a human capabilities approach offers guidance about how we conceptualize our practice as professionals in relation to students, families, and staff. For example, Sailor (2009) argues for a shifting policy context away from a “handicapped” or disability frame toward determining the best instructional resource matches needed to achieve valued individual student goals at the highest level for all students regardless of reasons for needing extra supports and/or services. The shift can occur through a combination of high-quality and appropriate curriculum that connects students to their own learning and instruction, augmented by specialized supports as needed. Education is not about doing something to others but about helping individuals fi nd their human potential; their unique pathways to their aspirations in a diverse historical-social-political-economic context. “What I think we know so far is that any new frame on education resource need-match policy will likely move away from an exclusive focus on various limiting characteristics of the individual, in favor of greater attention to the ecology of the individual’s learning situation and life circumstances” (p. 31). Since most of these factors lie outside the child, a new organizing framework for policy in education that can move us beyond the disability construct seems timely and necessary.