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Not Everything Can Be Special: Appropriate Education for Severe Disabilities

Jason C. Travers (Temple University, USA)

Revitalizing Special Education

ISBN: 978-1-80117-495-4, eISBN: 978-1-80117-494-7

Publication date: 26 September 2022


Special education for students with severe disabilities depends on advocacy, but for what issues we should advocate is arguable. Prioritizing issues for advocacy also may subject to debate. Some may argue for full inclusion, which is the idea that all children irrespective of impairments or needs should receive all services in general education settings. Full inclusion implies that all decisions about what, how, and where special education is provided must conform to general education contexts. Full inclusion is an absolute imposition and, accordingly, is diametrically opposed to an individualized approach articulated in US special education law. This chapter briefly addresses the incompatibility of inclusion (based on individualization) and full inclusion (based on absolute conformity) for students with severe disabilities, and suggests that special education professionals and leaders should champion meaningful curriculum delivered with effective instruction and behavioral supports. The foundations for this advocacy with and on behalf of students with severe disabilities should be scientific evidence, evidence-based practice, and the continued rights and protections associated with an individualized approach.



Travers, J.C. (2022), "Not Everything Can Be Special: Appropriate Education for Severe Disabilities", Kauffman, J.M. (Ed.) Revitalizing Special Education, Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 109-119.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022 Jason C. Travers. Published under exclusive licence by Emerald Publishing Limited