Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
This ethnographic case study follows the educational journeys of nine students with learning disabilities who with luck and parental advocacy attend a school designed to address their disability. The researcher explores the role of cultures, both within and outside the school, and examines some of the effects of the social construction of special education on student learning.
This study draws no conclusions regarding the connections between the cultures at the school and the student’s success. However it does highlight the perspective of students, parents, and teachers, noting the ways in which they describe how and why this school environment allowed the student access to an education.
The nine student’s educational journey calls attention to the inequities caused by the social construction of special education. In this study, students were underdiagnosed, misdiagnosed, and at times over-diagnosed with a variety of labels that indicated a disability or lack of a disability. This labeling, required in order to receive specialized instruction, determined a path and represents one of the many problems associated with special education. In addition, these students and their families endured financial and emotional hardships in the fight to obtain an accessible education.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.
Number of Pages
Ballin, Amy E., "The Quest for a Meaningful “Special Education”: The Educational Journeys of Nine Students with Learning Disabilities from an Inaccessible Learning Environment to One that Enabled Them to Learn" (2011). Educational Studies Dissertations. 40.