Special case

During my recently completed PhD research exploring disability, identity and everyday life, not one of the disabled adults I interviewed talked positively about their experience of "special" school education.

What they did speak about was low expectations of attainment while being constantly exhorted to emulate "normal" behaviours; exclusion from ordinary experiences of childhood and adolescence; being subjected to endless visits from smug celebrities.

The whole discourse of specialness and special needs is an ideological distraction from the structural inequalities experienced by people with impairments in a society based upon the economics of conformity.

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What David Cameron and the Conservatives fail to understand (your report, 28 April) is the long-term impact upon disabled children of being segregated from their peers from an early age within separate education systems.

What kind of nonsense is it to advocate greater respect for social diversity and, at the same time, to pledge to maintain educational arrangements which reinforce a public perception that impairment is personal tragedy requiring to be dealt with outside the social mainstream?