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“There’s No Other Way to Describe it”: Images of Disability and Challenging Behaviour on a Current Affair

  • Gwyn Symonds (a1)

Abstract

This paper is written primarily as a call to those of us in the special education field in Australia to become more actively involved in responding to the popular culture construction of disability as it takes place in the mainstream media. It is not the aim to define the form such activism should take but rather to raise awareness of the issue for further discussion. It is argued that Australian special educators and researchers are currently passive in relation to our negative media representations of disability with little to be found in local research literature that shows a specific interest in the issue. It is proposed that the television news show, A Current Affair, which airs daily during the week on the Nine Network in Australia, at 6.30 p.m. following the six o’clock news, offers an illustrative example of social and cultural construction that unwittingly contributes to stereotypes about young people with challenging behaviours and disability. Such stereotyping can be laid bare by critique as a means of countering the impact of such uninformed, and often sensationalised, media images.

Copyright

Corresponding author

Gwyn Symonds, Support Faculty, JJ Cahill Memorial High School, NSW Department of Education and Training.

References

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Australasian Journal of Special and Inclusive Education
  • ISSN: 1030-0112
  • EISSN: 1833-6914
  • URL: /core/journals/australasian-journal-of-special-and-inclusive-education
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