Disability Identification: The Naming Is Explaining Game
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The chapter examines the medical model the paradigm education uses to designate children educationally disabled. Contending that the disability designation is both faulty and counterproductive, the chapter counters with a brief look at the effect Sputnik had on American education, proposing that children’s achievement struggles, though quite real, derive from a systemic error germane to general education. While the disability debate continued, the numbers of schoolchildren declared educationally disabled increased dramatically across the USA. Their numbers soon caused financial havoc for school districts and state budgets. Questions were raised regarding special education’s ability to diagnose the supposed educational disabilities, thereby highlighting the disturbing issue of false positive identifications. An interchange between practicing school psychologists, professionals often responsible for declaring a child learning-disabled, suggests that special education’s diagnostic procedure suffers serious problems.