The trouble with normal: The struggle for meaningful access for middle school students with developmental disability labels

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

28 Scopus citations

Abstract

This critical, qualitative study considers issues of access to the academic and social experiences of middle school for five students with labels of intellectual disability and autism through a lens of ableism and enforced 'normalcy'. Starting from the position that schools are sites where ableist norms of performance leave many marginalized, this study privileges the perspective of individuals whose inclusion in school is most tenuous. Challenging the notion that mere access to general education classrooms and instruction is enough, this study interrogates questions of efficiency and meaningful engagement within the context of middle school. This paper first illustrates the ways that ableism pervades middle school settings and then outlines a typology of particular ways of being and performing that are privileged and an illusion of normalcy maintained. Finally, this article explores the implications of ableism and enforced normalcy on the engagement and participation of students considered to have developmental disabilities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)345-358
Number of pages14
JournalDisability and Society
Volume25
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2010

Keywords

  • Ableism
  • Developmental disability
  • Inclusive education
  • Middle school

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Health Professions(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)

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