Term of Award

Spring 2012

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Curriculum Studies (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Department

Department of Curriculum, Foundations, and Reading

Committee Chair

Robert Lake

Committee Member 1

Ming Fang He

Committee Member 2

Sabrina Ross

Committee Member 3

Michelle Reidel

Abstract

In the past children with disabilities have been neglected, denied, and rejected by society and the educational system. Although special education is set up to help those who are disabled many are still excluded. It is believed that the knowledge, practices, and discourses of special education professionals are grounded in the medical model. Exceptionality is being established by standardized tests that set these children up for failure. The field has designated professionals who are responsible for diagnosing, labeling, and teaching persons with disabilities without considering the perspectives of those for whom the system was designed. However, this dissertation places the special education system and those who marginalize those with disabilities under scrutiny I have chosen to tell an important story: the history of two people who have gone through the special education system in two rather different ways. My daughter Morgan will share her personal experience of what it was like to be labeled learning disabled and how the special education system has affected her life. I will provide the parent's perspective and relate how difficult and stressful the process of special education can be. This paper will also tell how being considered different has affected the quality of my daughter's life and analyze how the practices and societal views continue to oppress those who are different. The research method I chose for this study is narrative inquiry. In successful narrative writing, the author always makes a point. Though on the surface, narratives might appear to be a simple retelling of a particular experience, event, or episode of a person's life, upon further examination, an effectively and passionately told story brings forth important and life-changing moral and ethical lessons.

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