Special needs

11th February 2000 at 00:00
THE EDUCATION OF CHILDREN WITH MEDICAL CONDITIONS. Edited by Alison Closs. David Fulton. pound;16.50.

Inclusion brings with it the assumption that all children, including those with medical conditions, will be educated in the mainstream.

Contributors to this book examine the challenges that inclusion poses for staff, but they do more than this - in keeping with the broader mindset which should accompany inclusion, they look at school matters that affectparticipation and achievement for children with medicalconditions.

An especially welcome feature of the book is the large amount of space given to first-hand accounts of young people, parents and siblings. Tanya Lyke, for example, is a young woman reflcting on the impact juvenile arthritis had had on her schooling. She gives one of the most succinct and most insightful summaries of the advantages and disadvantages of special education that I have come across. Advantages include small classes and on-site therapy, while disadvantages include limited expectations and a "medical model of 'caring' that could result in childlike dependency". The book is worthbuying for these personal accounts alone.

The education of ill children and hospital education are neglected features of the special needs literature, and this excellent collection is much to be welcomed.

Gary Thomas.

Gary Thomas is professor ofeducation at Oxford Brookes University

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