Voices of Diversity

Chapter 10: Learning (Dis)Abilities and Special Needs

By: Jessica Morris

Special Education

Key Terms:

  • Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA): law; defines learning disability
  • Individualized Education Plan (IEP): helps meet the needs of students with learning disabilites; sets short- and long-term goals; establishes accommodations and modifications
  • Committee on Special Education (CSE): team of adminstrators, teachers, special education professionals, parents, student


Main Categories:

  • Developmental speech and language disorders
  • Avademic skills disorders
  • ADD and ADHD

Project and Extention Activites

#2. Stereotypical portrayals of individuals with disabilties


This is a description of the movie Water Boy from Wikipedia:

"Bobby Boucher (Adam Sandler) is a socially inept, 31-year-old water boy with a stutter and hidden anger issues due to constant teasing and excessive sheltering by his mother, Helen (Kathy Bates)."


It is clear throughout the movie that Adam Sandler's character stutters. It is hard to miss a stutter. It's almost like being in a wheel chair. You can't hide a stutter, unless you decide not to talk. I would like to point out that the movie also insinuates throughout the movie that Adam's character is intellectually inferior. It's as though his stutter and intelligence are connected.


This has always infuriated me...probably because I'm an overprotective sister. One of my younger brothers has stuttered since he was itty bitty. He still stutters at 22 years old. When he was in high school he decided to look for a part-time job. He went to a local mechanic shop after sending an email and being invited to meet the owner face-to-face. The email sounded promising. My brother had a lot of experience with cars, despite his young age. He arrived at the shop and made it through a few sentences without stuttering. It still looked promising, but then the repetitive word sounds began. The owner then asked what was wrong with him and shortly after told him, "we're not hiring." Comments like, "What's wrong with him?," "Sp-sp-spit it out Junior," and "Really? He makes A's and B's" are not foreign to my brother. Many people think my brother is either intellectually inferior or on drugs just because he stutters.

Citation: Langer de Ramirez, Lori. (2006). Voices of Diversity. Uppersaddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education.