This chapter revisits the imprint made by the early writings of Lous Heshusius on the public school teaching and ideological positioning of the author, Linda Ware—then, a middle school resource room teacher and a parent to her young son enrolled in special education. Heshusius’ insights stood in marked contrast to the professional literature and practices in teacher training programs. Heshusius amplified Ware’s experience as a mother and as a teacher, inspiring what became Ware’s critique of special education’s misguided ideology.
This chapter encourages reflexive analysis as the default stance for educators who seek honest exploration of that which troubles us and alienates us from deeper understanding of disability, our students and the teaching process. Gallaher draws from “Freeing Ourselves from Objectivity: Managing Subjectivity or Turning Toward a Participatory Mode of Consciousness” (Heshusisus, 1994), offering her own philosophical treatment of the objectivity/subjectivity debates relative to how we come to know what we believe. Gallagher summons educators and those who prepare educators to respond.
This chapter details the practice of special education’s misguided ideology in the assessment and placement practices common to the IEP meeting. Nusbaum offers a nuanced account of her experience attempting to advocate for Lelia, a young student who could only be seen by professionals as an amalgam of deficiency and lack. Nusbaum provides an account that is richly textured by the insights Heshusius offered to the professional literature, decades before it was recognized for its merit.
This chapter captures the actual rendering of an intervention with preservice teachers who are called upon by Allan to explore their ideological positioning utilizing “participatory consciousness” as outlined by Heshusius. In brief, the call to interrogate unconscious biases about children, disability, and teaching, these undergraduate students found the intervention challenging and welcoming. The key component, as described by Heshusius, was for educators to listen to the call to control and limit lives that often results from unreflective practice.
This chapter concludes with Cowley’s reflexivity in the form of a letter to Heshusius, seeking resolution to threads that were left unwoven in the narrative research Cowley conducted for her doctoral research. Decades separate their research, yet. Heshusius’ insights and connections to the present make for a powerful argument for this series, to suggest the relevance of returning to the founding voices of critical special educators who made possible, the evolution of disability studies in education.