What’s Behind the Curtain? A Family’s Search for an Inclusive Oz

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Janet Sauer


disability, narrative, special education


Families are moving at ever increasing numbers.  Relocating a family is challenging under any circumstance, but transitioning a child with a disability between schools, especially to new states or countries can be particularly difficult.  When families seek full inclusion, the situation becomes more complex.  This paper describes one American family’s journey through the moving process and how that process brought to the surface ways in which disability is socially and culturally constructed.  Despite federal legislation in some countries regarding special education and the involvement of families, practices differ geographically, sometimes significantly, when determining eligibility, communicating with parents, and discussing how support services will be provided.  The author - a parent, educational researcher, and instructor of pre-service teachers – asks questions throughout the family’s relocation and examines people’s “storylines” or habits of conversation (Gee, 1999) to get at underlying assumptions.  Related research and implications for improving educational practices are discussed.
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