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Dismantling the Disabling Environments of Education

Creating New Cultures and Contexts for Accommodating Difference

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Edited By Peter Smagorinsky, Joseph Tobin and Kyunghwa Lee

Dismantling the Disabling Environments of Education: Creating New Cultures and Contexts for Accommodating Difference challenges assumptions that view people of difference to be "abnormal," that isolate attention to their difference solely in the individual, that treat areas of difference as matters of deficiency, and that separate youth of difference from the mainstream and treat them as pathologized. As outsiders to mainstream special education, the authors of this collection take a more social and cultural perspective that views the surrounding social environment as at least as problematic as any point of difference in any individual. Most of the scholars contributing to this volume work with preservice and inservice teachers and grapple with issues of curriculum and pedagogy. One of the primary audiences we hope to reach with this book is our colleagues and practitioners who have not made special education or disability studies the focus of their careers, but who, like we, are determined to engage with the full range of people who attend schools. Dismantling the Disabling Environments of Education: Creating New Cultures and Contexts for Accommodating Difference can be a valuable text for undergraduate and graduate courses in teacher education, as it addresses key issues of inclusion, diversity, equity, and differentiated approaches to educating the full range of students.

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Chapter Ten: Schools as Asylums: A Case Study of a Girl with OCD (Xiaoying Zhao)

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CHAPTER TEN

Schools as Asylums

A Case Study of a Girl with OCD

XIAOYING ZHAO



In this chapter I present a case study of Julia, a 10-year-old, bi-racial girl diagnosed with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Using Bakhtinian discourse analysis of her descriptions of her divergent school experiences at two school spaces, I locate the discourses of difference that contribute to her OCD.

My analysis is consistent with the Critical Disability framework used by the other contributors to this volume. A shortcoming of both Critical Disability studies and special education is the lack of including the voices of children with special needs (Bailey, Boddy, Briscoe, & Morris, 2015; Davis & Watson, 2001). This chapter is a response to Peters’s (2010) call for educators to listen to student voices and to use children’s perspectives to help us rethink how we think about such issues as inclusion, equity, and least restrictive environments. Embodied life stories, like the story I tell in this paper of ten-year-old Julia’s experiences in two very different school settings, can help to unravel the complex interactions of social, racial, biological, and political factors that contribute to the educational experiences of neurologically atypical students.

As a conceptual framework I draw on two Russian theorists, Mikhail Bakhtin and Lev Vygotsky. From Bakhtin (1981) I take the idea that “The ideological becoming of a human being … is the process of selectively assimilating the words of others...

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