Teachers with LD: Ongoing negotiations with discourses of disability

Beth A. Ferri, David J. Connor, Santiago Solis, Jan Valle, Donna Volpitta

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study is to examine how 4 teachers with learning disabilities (LD) negotiate multiple, complex, and sometimes contradictory discourses of disabilities in constructing their own understandings of LD. We chose to study teachers with LD because of their unique access to at least 3 different sources of knowledge about LD: (a) professional discourses on disability, (b) mainstream cultural messages about LD, and (c) insights gained from their own life experience. We drew on aspects of critical discourse analysis and narrative inquiry for this investigation. Our findings indicate that participants draw on these discourses and on their teaching experience in various and complex ways to construct meaning about LD. In some instances, participants use the dominant discourses; at other times, they work to subvert these meanings. Yet, paradoxically, whether speaking with or against these meanings, their voices are inescapably engaging with authoritative discourses and cultural scripts surrounding disability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)62-78
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of learning disabilities
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Education
  • General Health Professions


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