Rigid barriers

9th May 1997 at 01:00
I was very interested in Reva Klein's excellent report on the inclusion issues around the Niki Crane case ("The in-crowd", TES, April 18), but found the remarks made by Andrew Sutton deeply offensive, especially his question: "How can you be part of mainstream society at the age of six if you can't control your bowels and bladder?" There are many people who will never be able to achieve this measure of control, and others who will lose it. I don't want to miss the opportunity of their company and the richness they can offer because society has put up such rigid barriers to who's allowed in and who's kept out.

There are children all over the world and all over the United Kingdom (not just in the London borough of Newham) without bowel and bladder control who are included in mainstream schools with simple adaptations in order to accommodate them.

Are we really meant to fence them off from other people until they are "trained"?

The purpose of providing for special needs is to allow for diversity, not to find reasons for segregation.

Andrew Sutton seems instead to be snatching desperately for the final unanswerable reason for exclusion - if you can't argue on the basis of a special condition that needs a rare kind of specialised teaching, you tell people that they are intolerable to society because of their disability.

Thank goodness for the efforts of the Cranes and all those supporting them - as another parent of a disabled child I wish them the very best of luck.

CHRIS GRAVELL 43 Green Lane Wolverton Milton Keynes Buckinghamshire

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