Ira Socol’s 2009: The Year of Universal Access

We could do away with 90% of “special needs” today, and instead make all those tools and resources available to every child to use every time “this way” would make education work better than “the old way.” Stigmas would drop away, as would the self-limits of low-expectations. Student interests would create groupings rather than measurements of single abilities.

…we don’t call those wearing eyeglasses “special needs.” […] we let just about anyone take elevators in tall buildings – not just those who have documentation proving that they can not climb stairs. Students need to be shown the tools available, and they should be helped in learning how to pick the best tool for their specific situation.

Ira has a fantastic couple of posts over at SpeEdChange at the moment on Universal Access {part 1 and part 2}. 

In the Disability Office here, our mantra is that we are trying to make ourselves redundant by making the university environment inclusive to all from the outset, effectively making the category of ‘special needs’ redundant.

Ira explains it far better than I could, so the posts are very much worth your time if you are involved at any level in the delivery or consumption of content in education. Staff at NUIM might like to take a look at some of the resources in our staff area or have a look through our links in delicious.

2 responses to “Ira Socol’s 2009: The Year of Universal Access

  1. I have an 8 year old nephew, who at school has been told he has dyslexia. I have, on a number of occasions, sat down with him and together we have read through a book. I don’t find it a particularly easy book to read either. I can’t see how schools have ‘tagged’ him as dyslexic, his reading skills are not behind other children, his spelling is relativley poor for his age group. Because his spelling is down he has been put into a seperate group of disruptive children for english lessons. I feel his education is being compromised because the school system doesn’t have a way of helping in specefic areas, only dyslexic or not.

  2. Hi neilosjay,

    How did the school determine how your son has dyslexia? Has he been formally assessed by an educational psychologist? Can you question how they decided this and for how long your son needs to be seperated?

    One of the approaches we advocate to educators is inclusive teaching so that there is less need for ‘special needs’ labelling. Alas, that message can be a difficult one to get across.

    Good luck and thanks for the comments,


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