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Childhood Disability, Advocacy, and Inclusion in the Caribbean: A Trinidad and Tobago Case Study

Childhood Disability, Advocacy, and Inclusion in the Caribbean: A Trinidad and Tobago Case Study

by Beth Harry

Hardcover(1st ed. 2020)

Available for Pre-Order. This item will be available on October 11, 2019


This book presents an ethnographic case study of the personal motivations, advocacy, and activation of social capital needed to create and sustain the Immortelle Children’s Centre, a private school that has served children with disabilities in Trinidad/Tobago for four decades. Based on narratives by parents from the 1980’s, current parents, teachers, community advocates, and the author, who was the founder of Immortelle in 1978, the study views the school within the context of a nation standing in a liminal space between developed and developing societies. It argues that the attainment of equity for children with disabilities will require an agenda that includes a legal mandate for education of all children, increased public funding for education, health and therapeutic services, and an on-going public awareness campaign. Relating this study to the global debate on inclusion, the author shows how the implementation of this agenda would have to be adapted to the social, cultural, and economic realities of the society.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9783030238575
Publisher: Springer International Publishing
Publication date: 10/11/2019
Series: Palgrave Studies in Disability and International Development
Edition description: 1st ed. 2020
Pages: 281
Product dimensions: 5.83(w) x 8.27(h) x 0.00(d)

About the Author

Beth Harry is Professor of Special Education at the Department of Teaching and Learning, University of Miami, USA.

Table of Contents

1. Chapter 1 Historical and Cultural Influences on Education Policy and Disability Services

2. Chapter 2 The Immortelle: Planting, Nurturing, and Growing

3. Chapter 3 Original Parents’ Stories: From “Something not right here” to “She’s wonderful!”

4. Chapter 4 Forty Years Later: Current Parents – From “Something not Right Here to “We Need Systems!”

5. Chapter 5 “Trinidad is Nice, Trinidad is a Paradise”: Navigating negativity and creating love

6. Chapter 6 Sustaining the Immortelle: “You Have to Love What You Do”

7. Chapter 7 Building a Community of Advocates: Seeking Unity in Diversity

8. Chapter 8 Health and Education: Seeking an Explicit Place on the Agenda

9. Chapter 9 Trinidad and Tobago in a Liminal Space

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“The uniqueness of this book lies in Beth Harry’s ability to straddle the macrocosmic and microcosmic scales of analysis by skillfully placing the 40-year history of the Immortelle Children’s Center within the larger context of the history of Trinidad/Tobago’s post-colonial development. Currently, Trinidad occupies what Beth calls a “liminal space” of in-between-ness and is poised to enter the next stage of pursuing the moral imperatives of development by ensuring educational services for children with disabilities. Beth addresses the dilemma of the applicability of the international standard of inclusive education to the social/economic context of Trinidad/Tobago. By offering indigenous alternatives to the international framework of inclusive education, this book is must reading for academicians and practitioners alike in the field of international inclusive and special education.” (Maya Kalyanpur, Professor, Special Education, University of San Diego, USA)

“A penetrative ethnographic case study of Immortelle Children’s Centre, a parent-led initiative founded by Beth Harry in 1978 to educate children with disabilities. Four decades later, Beth turns an analytical gaze onto the project and skillfully weaves the voices of parents, caregivers, teachers, and community activists into a study pierced through with empathy. The enquiry confronts legacies of elitism, racial hierarchies and patronage within liminal Caribbean post colonies, challenges global inclusion discourses, celebrates volunteerism and social capital and argues for systemic support from a State founded on philosophies of inclusion.” (Paula Morgan, Professor of West Indian Literature and Culture, University of the West Indies, St Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago)

“Providing educational services to learners with disabilities has been a subversive idea because it raises unsettling questions: Who possesses rights? What does competence mean across the range of human capabilities? There is an urgent need to deepen our understanding of these questions, particularly in nations of the South. Grounded in the rigor of ethnography and the authority forged by lived experience, Harry offers a multifaceted historical portrait of such questions. The setting is a young nation of the South with a deep commitment to equality. The result is a rich depiction of the tribulations surrounding the disruption of normative views about ability, as well as the triumphs of transforming intolerance toward disabilities. In the end, we gain a cultural understanding of educational access and opportunity.” (Alfredo J. Artiles, Dean, Graduate College, Ryan C. Harris Professor of Special Education, Arizona State University, USA)

“A must read for anyone interested in international developments in education, this book provides an inside account of account of the development of Immortelle, a Centre for educational provision for children with disabilities in Trinidad and Tobago. By bringing to life the voices of those who nurtured and sustained Immortelle as a centre of excellence, the book enhances the country’s reputation in the Caribbean region as a place of tolerance, love and creativity.” (Lani Florian, Bell Chair of Education, Moray House School of Education, The University of Edinburgh)

“This book is a literary masterpiece that captures the historical, cultural and personal journeys of parents of children with disabilities in the Caribbean island of Trinidad and Tobago. The stories of parents, their children, teachers, and administrators help readers to understand how the historical and socio-cultural context presents powerful barriers to access to inclusive quality education and services for these children.” (Stacey Blackman, Lecturer in Special and Inclusive Education School of Education, University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, Barbados)