Enhancing Diversity: Chapter 1, Identifying the Issuescontinued . . .

Closing Remarks

The old saying that "the world is full of good intentions" can probably honestly describe the mindsets of the various individuals participating in situations involving educators with disabilities. Every one of them most likely holds with the strongest conviction, as we ourselves do, the intentions of protecting the interests and doing what is best for students in our schools and of treating people fairly. The interpretations of what those intentions really entail and the ways to fulfill them, however, can and do vary greatly. Hence we have the other common saying about how the road to a particularly undesirable place is also paved with good intentions.

Good intentions are not enough when it comes to situations involving educators with disabilities. Despite laws such as Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act and the presence of university and school system policies that prohibit discrimination on the basis of disabilities, discrimination occurs. The decisions made and actions taken by people such as all of us to realize those intentions are critical. We reiterate our earlier point that there are typically no simple solutions in these situations and add that there will never be one answer that fits for all situations or individuals with disabilities (though, again, we ourselves do hold a bias toward some types of solutions over others). The closest we believe we can come to simplicity are the following characteristics for which all of us should strive. The presence of these characteristics can contribute greatly to the quality of the solution-seeking process:

  1. Openness to our communication
  2. Willingness to question our own and others' assumptions about disabilities and teaching
  3. Creativity to generate solutions
  4. Courage to put solutions to appropriate tests
  5. Honesty to accept the results of such tests

We hope that the stories and information in this volume not only convince you to adopt these characteristics in matters pertaining to educators with disabilities but also enhance your ability to use them well.

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