What Rachel Smalley, and the public, doesn’t understand about mainstreaming special needs children.

Every ‘type’ of race, gender, personality, difference (this list could go on) are already part of our communities, societies, cultures, schools, universities, work places etc. Whether or not we all feel, or believe, or choose, or behave as if we’re all here is another matter. Well intentioned exclusion in its extreme leads to things like genocide. We need to be very careful about whether one person or group’s desires are of more or equal value than another’s and how we can all live interdependently not in isolated or isolating independence from others.

Autism & Oughtisms

Today a reader of my blog asked if I’d read a recent article written by Rachel Smalley, up on the Newstalk ZB website. The reader was not happy about what she read there, and having read it myself I also feel the article needs a public reply. There is just so much wrong with the way Smalley frames the debate she is looking at, that it is hard to know where to start, so I might as well begin at the beginning.

Bu Via Tsuji, via Flickr

Smalley’s article starts off with the recent example of the child with Aspergers and dyslexia, who had been expelled from school because of an incident with a skateboard. She uses this example to launch into the question of whether it is a good idea to mainstream children with special needs. She uses two examples to frame the debate: One where an…

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