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New Directions in Special Education: Eliminating Ableism in Policy and Practice


reviewed by Margaret McClean — March 28, 2006

coverTitle: New Directions in Special Education: Eliminating Ableism in Policy and Practice
Author(s): Thomas Hehir
Publisher: Harvard University Press, Cambridge
ISBN: 189179261X, Pages: 211, Year: 2005
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Ableism is a form of discrimination based on the perception that being able-bodied is the normal human condition and is superior to being disabled. For many, ableism is an unfamiliar notion—an uncommon word that a reader might look at twice. Thomas Hehir explains that ableism stems from deeply held, negative societal attitudes towards disability (p. 10). Ableism is seen at its most obstinate when expressed by able-bodied people as patronizing insistence that impaired people should strive to perform as if they were not impaired. These ableist assumptions play out on individual, institutional, and cultural levels. In this book Thomas Hehir focuses on the impact of ableism on policies and practices in the institutional sector that encompasses education, and in particular, special education, in the United States. The book is another illustration of the influence of the legacy of Burton Blatt and the teaching at the School of Education at Syracuse University... (preview truncated at 150 words.)


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record, Date Published: March 28, 2006
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 12353, Date Accessed: 12/11/2017 2:51:33 AM

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About the Author
  • Margaret McClean
    Auckland University
    E-mail Author
    MARGARET MCLEAN is a senior lecturer at the School of Social and Policy Studies in the Faculty of Education at Auckland University. She received her Ph.D. from the Faculty of Education at Deakin University, Victoria, Australia. Her thesis, “Learning and teaching about disability: The possibility of disestablishing ableism,” examines the conditions required to identify, confront, and change ableist views through the processes of adult education.
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