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Learning Disabilities, Social Categories, and Educational Practices

  • By: Ann Marie Darrow Baines, Philip Bell & Ray McDermott
  • In: Encyclopedia of Diversity in Education
  • Edited by: James A. Banks
  • Subject:Diversity & Consistency, Sociology of Education (general)

Sociocultural perspectives on learning disabilities (LD) frame these labels as a product of the culture of U.S. educational institutions. Rather than focusing on what is wrong with individual students, this theoretical approach to LD addresses the cultural conditions and arrangements that make LD labels relevant. This perspective is applicable to research on diversity in education, in that it challenges deficit views of individual children and youth in schools and classrooms. This entry describes LD as a social and cultural category, its relevance to educational practice, the interdisciplinary nature and future directions of this work, and implications for research and practice. From a cultural point of view, LD is not something children are, but something their schools do to them—not something they acquire, but something that ...

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