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Lessons from Life: Personal and Parental Perspectives on School, Childhood, and Disability


by Philip M. Ferguson & Adrienne Asch — 1989

It is our contention that personal narratives constitute a large and neglected source of data for understanding how society in general, and schools in particular, could better support disabled children and their families. More specifically, since these narratives are situationally rather than conceptually based, they can reveal the personal perspectives in words chosen by the authors, rather than the predetermined categories of the researcher's survey questionnaire. This chapter will discuss what these perspectives—combined with some of our own views—suggest as being most supportive of the families with disabled children. Our overall purpose in this chapter is more descriptive than prescriptive. A deeper understanding of the complexity of living with a disability must precede—or at least accompany—our society's efforts to improve the educational experience of disabled students and their families.


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This article originally appeared as NSSE Yearbook Vol 88, No. 2.


Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 90 Number 6, 1989, p. 108-140
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 18942, Date Accessed: 10/20/2017 9:24:31 PM

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About the Author
  • Philip Ferguson
    University of Oregon
    E-mail Author
    PHILIP M. FERGUSON is a part of the faculty at the University of Oregon.
  • Adrienne Asch
    New York State Division of Human Rights
    E-mail Author
    ADRIENNE ASCH works in the New York State Division of Human Rights as an investigator of employment discrimination cases.
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