Measuring Average: A Study of the Educational Barriers for Children with Moderate Disabilities within the US School System.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 09:00
Location: Hörsaal 6C P (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Oral Presentation
Jessica CUNNINGHAM SEGOVIA, Arizona State University, USA
In 2004 the U.S. Congress reestablished the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) which guaranteed children with disabilities the right to free and appropriate education within the state’s education system. As part of this act the federal government mandated the use of an Individual Education Plan (IEP) to coordinate and implement an appropriate accommodation plan for individual children with disabilities. Using Institutional Ethnography as my mode of inquiry I uncover the relations that organize my experience of navigating my son's school to seek accommodation for his moderate hearing loss.  Based on personal accounts, second stage informant interviews and the textual discourse used in the IDEA, by the school and state officials, I explicate how this same text meant to promote a child’s education clouds the underlying issue of a child’s disability as well as impedes their academic potential. 

My study focuses on how the IDEA phrase that accommodation is required for a child's disability only if it “adversely affects a child’s educational performance” is translated by schools and states to mean "average".  Children with mild to moderate disabilities who are considered “average” students will not be granted services or accommodations through an IEP, regardless of the possibility of the child’s educational potential.  Moreover, if a child who is currently receiving services effectively meets all academic requirements and the child is considered to be “consistent with the standards and achievements” of other children of their age then they will be at risk of losing the same services which helped them reach those goals.