Gregory G. H. Rihn (milwaukeesfs) wrote,
Gregory G. H. Rihn

Salon, 09-10-04

Sue Blom’s salon convened on Sept. 10th, with the theme being the uses and abuse of “special education.” Of course we couldn’t get to the topic until after pumping Sue (who DID go to Worldcon) for gossip and experiences. She had a good time, although she didn’t manage to accomplish any of the serious business she had had on her agenda. We were pleased to hear that Lois McMaster Bujold had added to her collection of awards with a “Best Novel” Hugo for her second “Chalion” book.
Once started on topic, we had a good discussion, largely drawing from our own reminiscences of special ed students, teachers, and programs we had known, concluding that special classes remain appropriate for mentally or behaviorally challenged students (provided they are properly identified as such, and not merely dyslexic or something like that), but that physically handicapped children should be mainstreamed as much as possible, and not, as in old days, lumped in with any and all special needs students. As this is probably what is happening in most schools now, we didn’t reach any profound new ideas, except that budgetary concerns to not justify inappropriate mainstreaming as a way to save money. I had just finished reading Elizabeth Moon’s novel The Speed of Dark, which deals with autism, and so we discussed the particular problems of autists, especially so-called high-functioning autistics who have to live and work in everyday society.
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