chapter 11 - ldtli’lfifirflt’lfilfiti 12:12...

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Unformatted text preview: ldtli’lfifirflt’lfilfiti 12:12 Htlhfilhtil'dfil'a’ HLIMi'l'tN HhHUth‘d H'i'tlsil: UEKllfi @211 Provision: who needs special needs? 1 'With Joan Adams Who needs needs? The notion of ’need’ can seem unproblomatic, particularly in relation to, fulfilment of what can be thought of as basic human needs. for food, forlsl’i ter, for security, for love and so on. The word ‘special', too, can have positive connotations of exceptionality and distinction. Yet the concept of needs has played a lcey role in the unequal power relationship between professionals and disabled people, needs being defined and assessed by professionals in co ' trolling the provision of services. The notion of special is also socially conm structed, and largely given meaning for disabled people through segr'egatio This chapter is about the use of language or discourse,.that is ways of speak- ing. the words we use, the rules regulating what it is possible to say. who can say things, under What conditions and with What: consequences. Hugjnan‘ (1991) providesa good starting point for our discussion: Discourse is more than about language. Discourse is about the interplay' between language and sodal relationships, in which some groups are ' able to achieve dominance for their interests in the way in which the world is defined and acted upon. Such groups include not only dominant economic classes, but also men within patriarchy, and white people ‘ ‘ within the racism of colonial and post-colonial societies, as well as pro- fessionals in relation to service users. Language is a central aspect of cli5~ course through which power is reproduced and communicated (Hugrnan 1991: 3-7) We begin by exploring the concept of ’needs' and then turn to the notion of “special needs’ as it is applied to provision for disabled people. The case study ' analyses a particular example of the discourse of special needs in education One common concept of need is as a motivational or driving force Perhaps the most well. known theory of basic human needs as drives was first put {it UHKU452UUH 12:12 Hdb4bflld42 HUMQN HtHUiUtH Provision.- who needs special needs? 123 nvatd by Maslow (1954). He suggested that there are live hierarchical levels needs: physiological needs {for food, sleep and so on) safety needs helongingoess and love needs esteem needs the need for self-actualization. . re satisfaction of unmet needs lower within the hierarchy will. in theory, m precedence over higher needs. A child who lacks sleep and is chronically ed, for instance, will not be striving to fulfil needs for esteem through learn- g. While the hierarchy of needs might be generally useful, however, there a many exceptions, such as people in constant‘pain who still attend to {gher’ needs. novel and Gough (1991: more recently summarized by Cough 1998) have veloped the idea that human needs are common or universal in detail. The rim that physical health and personal autonomy are the most basic human eds is central to their theory of human need. These needs must be satisfied some degree before people can effectively participate to achieve any other lued goals (Doyal and Gough 1991: 54). In this theory. citizenship rights iiovv from the concept of universal human needs as without adequate levels need satisfaction a person would be unable to fulfil his or her duties as a teen Thus “all people have a strong right to need satisfaction” (Gough 1995: ). Standards of need satisfaction can be set and assessed. Such an audit, for ese writers. is to be negotiated between the top-down knowledge of perts, professionals. researchers and so on and the bottomuup knowledge ordinary people in their everyday lives (Gough 1998: 55—6). This theory of need, from a different stance, however. feeds and rationalizes twer relations that it purports to reject. Illich (1977: 22) succinctly charac- rizes an alternative viewpoint when he writes that, “Needs, used as a noun, came the fodder on which professionals were fattened into dominance.’ Pro- ;sionals are dominant in power relations and structures through asseSsment clients, defining their problems and needs. specifying solutions in terms interventions to satisfy clients’ needs, and. evaluating the effectiveness of lotions. Needs are seen as residing in personal rather than structural defi- :ncies. In McKnight’s (1981) analysis of professional services. he states: we see the professions developing internal logistics and public marketing systems that assure use of tools and techniques by assuming that the client doesn't understand what he [sic] needs. Therefore. if the client is to have the benefit of the professional remedy, he must also understand that the professional not only knows What he needs but also how the need is to be met. ‘ (McKnight 1931; as) ofessional dominance can be seen in assessment procedures where. for ample. the therapist's or nurse's observations may be viewed as objective Ffifit Udflfl ldth’lfifirfle’lfilfitl 12:12 Hdb4btlltl42 HLIMtl'uN hitHitiLih‘d l-‘ti'uisil: lilfila'rllil 124 Polity, provision and practice whereas the patient’s perceptions are viewed as subjective, and w}; pseudo-scientific language serves to mystii'y and confuse service users {Gt-iii: 1988; French 1993b). Because of the specialization of the various proqugi‘a groups, definitions of need tend to be narrow, their scope being dictated specialized knowledge and interests (Ellis 1993). More recently,- MC - (1995: 2‘?) has developed this analysis to turn the concept of needs" " head, and anSWers the question set by the title of this chapter, “who he needs?’: ’Just as General Motors needs steel, a service economy .ri "deficiency", "human problems” and "needs" it it is to grow. . . The econd need for need creates a demand for redefining conditions of deficieneys‘f“ Questions for discussion 1 Is it possible to specify universal human needs (irrespective ‘o ‘ historical, cultural, personal contexts)? If so what are they and how are they defined? - 2 What would you say are your needs? Do they change over time and do they depend on context? _ 3 In What some can professionals be said to need ‘needs’? What's so special? What has the notion of needs meant for Welfare provision for disabled people First, when applied to disabled people, the notion of needs is often qualifie by the term ’speo‘al’. While the term needs can be thought of as having urn versal application, ’special’ is exclusive (in the sense of ’not ordinary’) thong again with positive connotatioris. It is synonymous with positive terms like distinction, exceptional and extraordinary. Yet its application in ffilflfiqfl'jg‘. disabled people has been extensively criticized. Corbett (1996), 'in her account"- of ’the language of special needs' explains: ' Whilst it has the meaning within it to convey that which is positive, 1 ' rarer feel comfortable with the way it is generally applied. It “special” is so positive, Why is it not usurped by the patriarchy and widely employed I to define power and status? . . . We reject being ’special’ . . . when the - ' term ’special’ is applied to disabled people, it emphasises their relative powerlessness, rather than conferring them with honour and dignity". (Corbett 199d: 4‘?) Aids to mobility used by disabled people, such as callipers, are “special aids’, unlike non-disabled people’s mobility aids, such as shoes. In terms of the pros vision of services, ostensibly to meet needs, ‘speciai' has meant separate and segregated. Middleton {1997: 23} writes that, “The invention and the per- sistence of the category in social policy hives off certain groups of people from mainstream assessment and provision, less for their Own benefit than to maintain the quality of provision for those who are not special.“ UHKU452UUH 12:12 Hdb4bflld42 HUMQN HhHUiUhH Provision.- who needs special needs? 125 The administrative separation of disabled people has dominated the service “(‘1 welfare provision for disabled peripIe, and enforced dependency. Priestley 1999), referring to the work of Barnes (1991), states: Administrative segregation can be as powerful a form of surveillance and control as physical incarceration, if more insidious. In order to under- stand this point it is important to remember that British policy making continues to demonstrate an almost complete segregation of services for - disabled people. Indeed, there are ’special' policieslor statutes covering health, education, housing. transport, employment, social services, wel- fare benefits, sexuality, reproduction and civil rights. ' (Priestley 1999: 50) ve turn next to loolc briefly at needs-led service provision first in community are and then education. Morris, who is a strong advocate of the social model .f disability and the independent living movement, sees needs-led assessment .5 underpinning 'the development of services which will matte a difference to icople’s lives” (Morris 1997: 44). She contrasts what she sees as a radical new ray of service providers working in partnership with disabled clients with ser- ice-led approaches. The latter entails measuring the person against eligibility nteria to fit the person into a menu of services. She maintains that needs-led .ssessments are about: finding out What the client wants in their life; identi- ying the barriers; and creating opportunities to overcome the barriers experi~ need by the disabled person. For Morris (1997: 33), “needs-led assessments .re essentially based on a social rnoclEl of disability.’ Other commentators are far more critical of needsubased provision. Oliver 1996b) recognizes that some benefits have been derived from the needs-led .pproach, including more access to relatively more serVices. Nevertheless he rgues that there are serious problems. First, need is not easy to define. As mentioned above. Morris equates needs and wants, or at least derives the ormer from the latter. In the Doyal and Gough (199l) model, however, the wo are clearly delineated. Second. Oliver (1996h: 70) states. 'abOve allelse. ssessment of need is an exercise in power', as argued above. A third problem vith needs-led assessments is that they are undertaken in a context of fixed tudgets, and the recent moves to charge disabled people for services. Priest- ey (1999) is unequivocal: There is emerging evidence that the practice of community care assess« ment and management continues to produce packages of Support which reflect traditional assumptions about the ‘needs’ of disabled people . . . By focusing the allocation of resources on personal care at the expense of social integration, the assessment process maintains a view of disability which characterise the needs of disabled people in terms of dependency and*’carc’ rather than citizenship and social integration. ' (Priestley 1999: 105) The needs discourse keeps the language of rights oil the agenda. Returning to the concept of ’special’, nowhere in the literature of disability 5 the discourse of ‘speclal’ so dominant as in education. In the late 19705, the Ffifih Ubflfl ldtla’lfifirfle’lfilfitl 12:12 Hdb4btlltl42 HLIMl'l'tN til-.H'U'ililzti l-‘l'i'tlsil: lfiba‘rllfi 126 Policy, provision and practice Warnoclt Report (1978} appeared to confirm dominance of the Concept (3 special, particularly with its central focus on special educational needs, " the language of the report remains pan of the language of policy as well ast daily discourse in mainstream as well as special schools. The spirit as; espoused purpoSe of the report and the Education Act 1981 lay in the replace ment of the categorization of young people in terms of impairment by mi notion of a continuum of need, The central thrust was the reconceptualiaa tion of special education, then almost entirely equated with educationpro vided in segregated special schools, to special provision for children identifie‘ as having special educational needs (SEN), many of whom were, and are educated in mainstream schools. ‘ In a sense, by extending understandings of special needs, the report an subsequent Act were successful, proliferating. it not spawning, an indurtry of special educational needs which remains. Warnocls’s desire to eliminate‘the, categorization of young people by their impairments has not been successful: There has been some changing of terminology, from educationally subnormal. (severe) (ESN(8)) to a superficially more humane severe learning difficulties. (SLD), for instance, but three categories of pupils with learning difficulties are " Still used in educational pr0vision: moderate learning difficulties (Min),- severe learning difficulties (SLD) and profound and multiple learning diifi- culties (PMLD), reflecting what Corbett (1996: 51) describes as a “mania io categorising "special needs” into neat and distinctive sections! ' The nine (1,997) Green Paper, which affirmed the Labour government’s policy, retained the language of Warnoclr (1973) and the term ’speciai’ recurred in a number of forms: special educational needs: special educational, provision; specialists,- special schools: special educational needs coordinators; specialist teaching: specialist support; and so on (Adams et aL 2000), Nor did . the revised Code of Practice on the Identification and Assessment of Pupils with Special Educational Needs (DfEE 2000a) seelt to address or change issues of language. in such official documentation it is therefore possible to identify a number of understandings of the term special at policy level, such as ‘additional to', ‘different l'rorn’. “greater difficulty in learning than” and ‘a disability’. In the two decades since the 1931 Act, specialness has continued to be insti- tutionalized by the existence of segregated schools. There has been negligible change in the numbers of children attending special schools since 1990 (DfEE 2000b) and segregation continues to be promoted in government initiatives. Even the discourse around the changes necessary for integration {or the term increasingly used, inclusion) has largely been shaped by special- ness. Thus, the Green Paper was able to refer to inclusion within mainstream schools, failing to recognize that Within a truly inclusive education system there would be neither mainstream not special schools. In the development of more critical theories of the meaning of special in relation to education, a key text was Tomlinson (1982). She questioned the' dominant humanistic explanations of special and traced the origins and growth of segregated education to particular vested interests, including those E: El ldtli’lfifin'rle’lfilfitl 12:12 Hdb4btlltl42 HLIMi'l'tN til-.H'u'ililzti l-‘i'i'tlsil: lfi Hllfi ' Provision .- who needs special needs? 127 of medical, psychological and educational personnel, and political ruling groups. She also argued that the development of special education could be understood only in relation to development of the schooling system as a whole, She states that ‘the 1944 Act allowed for a tripartite system of second- ary schooling by “age, aptitude and ability”. Selection by “ability” sanctioned selection by “disability” {Tt'irnlinson 1.982: 50), The wholly positive connotations of the term 'special’ were and continue to be brought into question. A later paper, for instance, states that ’The special are likely to find more difficulty in collecting meaningful skills and competencies, having usually already acquired labels associated with "non- competence“ (Tomlinson and Colquhoun 1995: 199)“ More recently, analy- sea of the meaning of the term special have addressed the meaning of the term "disability. In particular, the social model of disability began to provide a foundation for a critique of existing essentialist theory and a basis for proposing radical change (Oliver 1984; Barton 1997). Riddell (1996) and Allan et al. (1998), among others, have argued that the official discourse of market-led educational policies has reinforced individualistic, rather than social, theoretical models, Questions for discussion 1 Do you think that the concept of ’special' plays a role in the oppres- sion of disabled people? If so, or if not, how and why? 2 Do you think that professionals need the concept of "special"? Why? 3 How might needs-led assessments empower or disempovver disabled people? Teachers' conceptions of ‘specialness' This case study is based on research conducted by Adams (1998) in which she compared learning environments within one classroom for young people deemed to have moderate learning difficulties with another for young people deemed to have severe learning difficulties. One factor found to influence the learning environment was the teachers’ own models of the 'specialness’ of their pupils, with substantial differences between the two classrooms. There were several perspectives in the way teachers talked about their pupils. Within the data evidence was first sought which related to the causes of the disability leading pupils to be given a statement of special educational needs. References to physiological symptoms were found only in the data from the SLD teacher who referred to pupils as having hemiplegia or a degen- erative condition. There was little reierence to pupils' cognitive level, and just one pupil was described as extremely slow’. . ‘ When the teachers of the MLD class talked about their pupils, they almost always described first their behaviour, and in negative terms: lfltir’lfifin'rle’lfilfitl 12:12 Hdb4btllti42 HLIMtl'tN til-.HUithti l-‘ti'tisil: liltlr'rllil 123 Policy. provision and practice Well. 8X presented a problem because of the outspoken comments and basically the cross-classroom cenversations during lesson time. If there's anything {science equipment] left out that you don’t know about. you can find it being flung across the room. They've had. break time in the yard and y0u know you're going to spend the first ten. fifteen minutes of thc leason calming them down. By contrast. they spoke positively about pupils' cognitive abilities: The other day I gave Matthew a packet of sweets because he's so enthusi- astic and he knows it. He's giving you all the answers all the time. When you’ve got somebody like Scott and maybe even Lulre at times who are quiclr on the uptake and itnow the answers straight away. There's still Edward and Matthew who need to be watched as well. And when I say need to be watched in the sense, I mean they are two of the brightest ones in the group. I actually think; Matthew's hyperactive, that’s my theory about him. In the school where the MLD class was located there were also pupils with SLD, taught in dedicated classes. Teachers spolte differently about these ‘ I. children considering, for example. that the SH) pupils more readily accepted differentiated work tasks It seemed clear that there was variance in the way ‘ " teachers perceived pupils with MLD and those with SID. There were differences too in the ways teachers interpreted the professional . challenges that the two different groups of pupils brought. The MLD teachers. in seeking to understand and interpret their relationships with pupils. articu- lated a perception of distance. a social gulf between themselves and what they perceived as their middle-class values and those of the wider social werld of the children they taught. Teachers felt that they were perceived by pupils as adversaries (one referred to herself as being seen as ‘the enemy’) and resented as figures of authority who made them do things they did not want to do. At the saute time there was a sense of discomfort with what they saw as over-familiarity exemplified by pupils commenting on teachers’ dress or their families, or by suggestions that a teacher might participate in the social activi- ties of day to day school life, by joining in a snowball fight. In contrast, the SLD teacher voiced empathy with pupils, identifying with their adolescent experiences. recalling that there had been times when she had acted. and reacted. as they did: ‘ if I have to reprimand somebody, “I remember doing that at school at your age” and the teacher would never have said that to me when I was at school. And somehow I say it because I think it helps them. I want them to know that I remember being hire them. 4 She did not Consider that their behaviours threatened her professional status as a teacher. When she identified problematic behaviours. she also had a solution that was Within her control, 'he can be quite disruptive so 1 watch lfltli’lfifin'rle’lfilfiti 12:12 Hdb4btiltl42 HLIMrliN til-.H'U'ililzti l-‘i'i'ilsil: lil‘ji'rllil Provision: who needs special needs? 129 ho i put him with.’ This, ostensibly, positive and close relationship between ratchet and pupil was attributed by the teacher to her understandings of Lipils' impairments which required elements of personal physical caret So, from the teachers” perspective, there are two individual models. There an individual medical model that is applied in the education of children "ith severe learning difficulties. This model of special is conceived in contrast i non-impairment or non-disabled (disability being defined Within the tedical model). It seems that within this model, special is legitimized when pplied to teachers themselves — special skills. techniques, con-leulum. Special repertisc is, supposedly, required for special children. The second model, applied to children with moderate learning difficulties, ould be termed the individual educational model. This model ol special is oneeived in contrast to perceived norms of capability. attainment hut, pri- iarily, behaviour. The model is more threatening to teachersas, by defi- ition, these were children for whom, because of their behaviour, other :achers in mainstream schools had not been able to provide education. The ery essence of special in this model, then, as applied to teachers’ skills. tech- iques and expertise, is teaching ostensibly unteachable children. It is not urprising that the dominant approach to teaching in the MLD setting was idacric and controlling; particularly in enforcing the supposed norms of non' pecial education. ' Questions for discussion 1 How can the discourse of ‘special’ be drawn upon to justify segregated educational provision? 2 In the light of theseteachers' understandings of the term ’special’, what are the implications for the development of inclusive provision"? 3» In what ways might teachers“ concepts of special needs pathologize disability? Debate activity Debate the proposition: The needs-led model of provision is inherently disempowering and segregationalist for disabled people. The following quotations may provide you with a starting point: Clear evidence or service development being influenced by a needs- led approach is an important incentive to, and reward for, the effort and thought which goes into needsuled assessment . . . These changes are motivated by a shift away from fitting people into exist- ing services, and instead finding out what it is that people Want to do with their lives and using resources to make this possible. (Morris 1997: 43.) lfltla’lfifirflt’lfilfitl 12:12 Hdb4btll'd42 HLIMtl'uN til-.H'Uillilz‘d H'i'u'lsil: llfia‘rllfi 130 Folt'qr, provision and pmrrim the focus on ’ocods’ rather than “human right’ is in direct conflict with the concept of empowerment. The concept of need is an approach that runs through all the legislation and is one which promotes pathology, inadequacy and inability as the basis for tie-tap mining who has What sorvices. (Jones 1992: 38, quoted in PriestIEy 1999: 211) Further reading Barton. L. led.) {1996) Dirabt'Iiiy and Society: Emerging Issues and insights. London: Long- man. Clottgh. P. and Barton, L. (eds) (1995) Making Dtfi'it'tilties: Raraarch and the Construction of ‘ Special Educational Needs. Louder-r: Paul Chapman. Corbett. J. (1996) BadaMoLtiht'ng: The Lartguagr ufspt't'iui News. London: Palmer. Hugman, R. {1991) Power in Caring Professions. London: Macmlllart. ...
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This note was uploaded on 04/14/2008 for the course RHB 493 taught by Professor Larson during the Spring '08 term at Stephen F Austin State University.

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chapter 11 - ldtli’lfifirflt’lfilfiti 12:12...

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