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Is the use of labels in special education helpful?

Lauchlan, Fraser and Boyle, C. (2007) Is the use of labels in special education helpful? Support for Learning, 22 (1). pp. 36-42. ISSN 0268-2141

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Abstract

In this article we will address the question: is the use of labels in special education helpful? Within this question there are a number of other questions and issues to consider: what is the relationship between labelling and special educational needs? or the relationship between labelling and the allocation of resources?, as well as the more general issue of the positive and negative outcomes of the use of labels. However, one may legitimately ask: what about the key players in the practice of labelling? In other words, while reflecting upon the use of labels by those working in special education, one must also consider if the same use of labels is helpful to parents, teachers, administrators, and most importantly, the children or young people to whom these labels are attached. The article will discuss each of these issues within the context of helpful (or unhelpful) reasons for the use of labels in special education.