Electronic Journal for Inclusive Education


This article is a result of several years of presenting workshops on meeting the needs of children with learning differences throughout Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky. I share many stories during these workshops and this is an attempt to share some of them in print while making some larger philosophical points at the same time. It is also a result of experiencing special education as a student, and teacher in the public schools, as well as teaching and researching in the field as a professor of education.

This is an autobiographical case study. It offers illustrative stories of a system that creates the ‘other’ and works to marginalize ‘at risk’ students (Bartolom’e, 2003). Because of the learning differences I have I was placed on a slower academic track that defined me and marginalized me very early in life. I began to think of myself in terms of what I couldn’t do as opposed to what I was capable of. So did my teachers. Through the years of schooling it was difficult to say which damaged me more, this ‘other producing’ system or my own construction of self. I believed what I was being told about myself. My self image reflected that belief.