Excerpt fromAbleism in Education: Rethinking School Practices and Policies” By Jillian Parekh. Copyright © 2022 by Jillian Parekh, used with permission of his publisher, WW Norton & Company, Inc. all rights reserved.
The approach to development, understood to be linear and supported by developmental psychology, is very popular in traditional schooling. For children who do not meet identified developmental expectations, schools typically respond with stigmatizing interventions that can strongly shape the academic, social, and behavioral expectations of educators. (such as many offered through special education). Education’s adherence to the principle of linear development mistakenly assumes the universality of childhood experience. It also narrows the accepted educational approach to schooling. The linear, personal conception of developmentalism is so ingrained in our collective approach to education that its consequences are often overlooked or normalized. But it’s not inexperienced.
Often much-needed behavioral, mobility, and psychological interventions have been re-recognized as harmful to the body, mind, and spirit of disabled people (Giangreco, 1996; Parens, 2006; Starr, 1982). For many children and their families, there is constant pressure to seek normalization through surgery, therapy and interventions. But when is “enough, enough”? When will we stop requiring people to follow constructed norms? When will we stop forcing people to walk and talk in normative ways and instead acknowledge and accept differences? ? This tension may be one of the most difficult to resolve in disability research. However, significant tensions remain as educators continue to work with students and their families.
How educators can incorporate holistic developmentalism into their work
In education, there is an expectation that educators should have a working understanding of developmentalism. It informs an educator’s approach to classroom strategy, assessment, and behavior management. However, educators have embraced a flawed and pathology-oriented understanding of developmentalism by adopting a framework that emphasizes the links between child development and the conditions in which children live and grow. can resist. When acting on assumptions related to developmental expectations, educators focus on socio-relational and sociocultural approaches such as those advocated by Vygotsky (Mahn, 1999) and Bronfenbrenner (Bronfenbrenner 1986/1992). can be drawn from a series of theories that apply There is also an indigenous understanding of early childhood development that has a deep understanding of cultural and historical context (ShadowWalker, n.d.). For example, Public Health Canada released a report on the health of indigenous children, adolescents, and families, providing a rich context for consideration of children’s health and development.
Young Indigenous children experience many health disparities, largely due to the socio-economic, environmental, political and historical conditions in which they live. High-quality, comprehensive and culturally appropriate ECD and care programs optimize the physical, emotional, psychological, cognitive and spiritual development of Indigenous children and give them the best possible start in life. , provides a promising avenue to address these health disparities by finally addressing them over the long term. -period. (Halseth & Greenwood, 2019, p. 7)