Medical approach and ableism versus a human rights vision

A new article by Anna Björk Sverrisdóttir & Ingólfur Ásgeir Jóhannesson in International Journal of Inclusive Education - abstract: "Trends towards inclusive education have informed educational policy worldwide although the term is still controversial, and the implementation disputed. In this article, we focus on the discourse in policy documents relating to students within upper secondary schools in Iceland, both at the national level and in selected upper secondary schools. The study is situated within the Disability Studies in Education paradigm. A six-step historical discourse analysis was applied when analysing official documents. Findings indicate different legitimating principles in the discourse: on the one hand, a medical approach to determine students’ abilities in conjuncture with an ableist approach and, on the other hand, a human rights vision which is intolerant of the ableist approach. The findings also suggest that texts present students in general as having every potential to become strong, independent and accountable individuals; while, conversely, texts concerning the education of students labelled as disabled tend to present them as individuals with low self-esteem and with special needs."

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