Ann Turnbull – Changes in the Field of Special Education
Articles,  Blog

Ann Turnbull – Changes in the Field of Special Education


– First, the expectations
for people with disabilities. When I was
in my special education program way back in the ’60s, I was taught that children with Down syndrome can’t read, and so you just don’t try
to teach reading. Now young adults with Down syndrome are
going to college. What a switch in the expectation. I was taught that people with IQs below 50 would always need
custodial care. And here is my son, Jay,
with an IQ below 50, who has had a wonderful work and–and, um, social and emotional life
in his community. So these expectations are just– just hugely different. Also, language… you know, we don’t use the R-word anymore, and we talk about intellectual disability. My dissertation title had
the R-word in it, and I hide that dissertation. I don’t want
any of my students to ever know that I used the R-word, but that was the standard word
at the time. We didn’t think anything of it. The closure of most institutions is huge. Um, the, um, opportunities, I’ve mentioned before, for post-secondary education is
life-changing. So there have been radical, radical changes, and I celebrate each
and every one of those.

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