An Interactionist Approach to Learning Disabilities

Hilary Scruton, John McNamara


Traditional approaches to understanding learning disabilities date back to the early twentieth
century and are based primarily on medical models. Several useful strategies and techniques
emerged from these early models and still influence today’s classrooms. However, there are
also disadvantages to traditional approaches in that the models place much of the burden of
the disability on the individual. Post-modern and strength-based perspectives on learning
disabilities have attempted to account for the drawbacks of traditional models and have
re-framed learning disabilities in broader social and cultural contexts. The current paper
reviews these three perspectives and offers an alternative approach that attempts to bridge the
modern and post-modern perspectives on learning disabilities. The interactionist approached
offered in this paper calls for a processural or multi-faceted conception of learning disabilities.
Interactionism encourages educators and students with and without learning disabilities to
engage differences in ways that explore possibilities for productive and positive learning
from each other.

Full Text:



Copyright (c) 2015 Hilary Scruton, John McNamara

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

International Journal of Education ISSN 1948-5476


Copyright © Macrothink Institute 

To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the '' domain to your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders.