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ERIC Number: EJ1072392
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006
Pages: 11
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0160-7561
Language, Labels, and Lingering (Re)considerations: The Evolution and Fuction of Terminology in Special Education
Osgood, Robert
Philosophical Studies in Education, v37 p135-145 2006
For the past 150 years public schools in the United States have, in one form or another, tried to address the presence of children in classrooms whose cognitive, behavioral or physical characteristics have been deemed sufficiently problematic to merit a "special" education. Current federal law identifies thirteen categories of "disability" that schools now use to provide such special education services in schools. This essay explores both the evolution and function of special education terminology, that is, language referring not only to categories of disability but also to depictions of children, conditions, practices, and especially attitudes that infuse special education and are fundamental to defining its form and character. While the terminology has undergone considerable evolution and change over these many years, the meanings and functions behind the words continue to evoke confusion, controversy, and a powerful need for critique and dialogue. This has become profoundly important in the world of public education, where formal and informal curricula and interpersonal relations among large numbers of diverse actors and agents have assumed immeasurable importance in the lives of children, families, teachers, and other parties who share a strong and vested interest in the nature of this work.
Ohio Valley Philosophy of Education Society. Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A