Students don't have disabilities
Please read the following quotation closely, and perhaps a second and third time. As you read it, please understand that it was originally published at a time when people used words such as “retarded” in ways that some of us might find repugnant in 2020s. (Also, please note that the emphasis was in the original.)
Children are not retarded. Only their behavior in average environments is sometimes retarded. In fact, it is modern science's ability to design suitable environments for these children that is retarded. We design environments to maintain life, but not to maintain dignified behavior.
I find (what I see as) the fundamental concept of this quotation to be particularly compelling. The responsibility for students’ mis- or disbehavior does not lie with the children. They are not at fault. Why blame the victim?
We educators (in my case) are the ones at fault. We are dis- or misbehaving. We are failing to design environtments in which our students can live essentially normal lives. We need to turn our humane, scientific focus on building a world where other humans, those who may not have all the priviledges we might have, can succeed.
Curb cuts, signing interpreters, flashing lights to accompany fire alarms, and etc. are each a part of designing such a world. In addition, it is critical to remember that instruction in mastering both academic and social competencies is an important contributor to designing that world.
Oh, by the way, the author, Ogden Lindsley, wrote the foregoing quotation as the first 42 words of his article entitled, “Direct Measurement and Prosthesis of Retarded Behavior,” which was published in Journal of Education, 164(1), 62-81. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/002205746414700107
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