Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Urban Education


David Connor

Subject Categories

Education | Special Education Administration | Special Education and Teaching


learning differences, learning disabled, narratives


Learning disabled (LD) is both a politically and socially contentious term. In the eyes of the public, the label is synonymous with special education (SE). SE's vision of LD remains the dominant discourse of deficit-based understanding of human differences. This has resulted in its adherence to segregated services for many students that often result in additional behavior problems exacerbating their struggles to learn in school. A lack of student representation in school affairs is exemplified in the absence of LD pupils' voices in the decision-making that frames how they are viewed by others. This absence of voice also influences how they ultimately regard themselves. Professional research on LD in traditional journals has also neglected the lived experiences of LD students. To counter the absence, this study examines first-person LD narratives through a framework based upon an interpretation of disability studies influenced heavily by the work of Thomas Skrtic and is designed to enable new knowledge to emerge that sheds light on how learning disabilities are experienced by individuals. Students with and without LD, parents, teachers, and policy makers can benefit from this information that presents alternative conceptions to LD monopolized within traditional special education research.