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ERIC Number: ED525682
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Apr
Pages: 216
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-0-2266-3000-7
Distinguishing Disability: Parents, Privilege, and Special Education
Ong-Dean, Colin
University of Chicago Press
Students in special education programs can have widely divergent experiences. For some, special education amounts to a dumping ground where schools unload their problem students, while for others, it provides access to services and accommodations that drastically improve chances of succeeding in school and beyond. "Distinguishing Disability" argues that this inequity in treatment is directly linked to the disparity in resources possessed by the students' parents. Since the mid-1970s, federal law has empowered parents of public school children to intervene in virtually every aspect of the decision making involved in special education. However, Colin Ong-Dean reveals that this power is generally available only to those parents with the money, educational background, and confidence needed to make effective claims about their children's disabilities and related needs. Ong-Dean documents this class divide by examining a wealth of evidence, including historic rates of learning disability diagnosis, court decisions, and advice literature for parents of disabled children. In an era of expanding special education enrollment, "Distinguishing Disability" is a timely analysis of the way this expansion has created new kinds of inequality. Chapters in this book are: (1) From Social Reform to Technical Management The Legal Evolution of the Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975; (2) Disabled Children's Parents; (3) High Roads and Low Roads to Disability; (4) Looking for Answers The Literature on Disability; (5) Whose Voices Are Heard? Due Process Hearings and Parents' Challenge to Special Education Evaluations and Placements; and (6) Reflections on Disability and Social Reproduction. An index, notes, references, and an appendix are included. (Contains 4 tables.)
University of Chicago Press. 1427 East 60th Street, Chicago, IL 60637. Tel: 773-702-7700; Fax: 773-702-9756; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Books; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Education for All Handicapped Children Act