Paper Summary

Direct link:

Ableism and the Racialized Inequities Promoted by the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act: The Least Restrictive Environment Mandate

Sat, April 10, 2:30 to 4:00pm EDT (2:30 to 4:00pm EDT), Division L, Division L - Section 2 Paper and Symposium Sessions


The purpose of this paper is to expose the ableism ingrained in—and the racialized inequities promoted by—the law enacted to provide equal educational opportunity for students with disabilities, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). We propose that language and discourse of the LRE mandate reflects ableist mechanisms that result in racist outcomes for historically and marginalized youth and confirms the permissibility of different and segregated placements based on a deficit model of intersectional disability. Through intertextual and interdiscursive critical discourse analysis (CDA), we expose and deconstruct the ableism within the IDEA. We examine the language and discourse of the IDEA statutes, judicial interpretations, school practices resulting in inequities and disproportionality.