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ERIC Number: ED522141
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 224
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1243-4758-5
Andi's Story: An Oral History of a Woman Labeled Learning Disabled
Polo, Maude Ann
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, Teachers College, Columbia University
Traditional special education research has excluded personal stories told by those most affected by the special education system. Specialists continue to diagnose, label, and provide assistance to persons with learning disabilities with little input from the persons most affected. The field continues to rely on the medical model, placing the locus of disability within the individual without considering that the difficulties are often imposed or exacerbated by the context of the classroom and society. Most often, it is the concept of "normalcy" that has been constructed by society that creates the "problem" of the disabled person. This oral history documents Andi's perspective about what it has been like to have been labeled learning disabled and to have been part of the special education system during the 1970s and 1980s, as well as how being "different" has affected the quality of her life. As the author and her former student revisited their years in special education and share their experiences, they both gained knowledge and insights about their experiences that they were not aware of at the time. Throughout her years in school, alienating labels, separate instruction, negative constructs, and exclusion defined who Andi is and profoundly affected her personal sense of worth. The author expresses shame that she was part of the system that tried to fix her. The author concludes that by listening to stories like Andi's, and giving voice to those who have been marginalized, we might move closer to a society that works for everyone. But she cautions that if special education is to fulfill its promise to improve the lives of persons with disabilities, it needs to address the cultural stigma that devalues difference and move toward making public education a more welcoming place for all children. And, though she prefers a unified system of education, she voices concerns about public education's ability to accommodate the needs of all students. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A