The special and the general

Let us once more start with a conversation. Ruth, when you say that the special always helps the general, what do you mean by that?

"Within the school it is children with special needs, together with creative school personnel, who have extorted a deepened view upon people, new pedagogical angles of approach and new types of aids. This has contributed to develop all the school systems around the world. Within medical care we also find innumerable examples on how the interest in the special also gain the general. This is particular clear now when so many people get so old. Almost everyone will sometime during their lifetime belong to the category "visually impaired", i.e. they will need glasses sooner or later. And many will during their lifetime be so disabled that they find it useful to remove the thresholds. Maybe it will turn out the same way with the knowledge of the picture communication? What has now been developed with the help of Isaac will perhaps be of invaluable use also for old people who have lost the spoken language.

Looked upon in a longer perspective it is obvious that we cannot afford to be without the knowledge of the differently abled people. Because from the worlds we do not know anything about, we can reach new knowledge that will be important to many more people.

It is also important for culture itself to have tools to prevent classifying people. This will be a gain to all, through the fact that it will change the climate of culture."

Fellowship - the core of the culture

Yes, it even happens that you can hear this expressed. Let us quote some of the differently able people in Lund:

Isaac has now started school together with Tobias. The first stumbling steps have been taken in the springterm 1995. Vibe Björnfors, Tobias' teacher, intends to use Isaac, among other things, to bring Tobias closer to his dream: to be able to read!

"Optimism is not of disposition an opinion about the current situation but a vital force, a force to hope where other resign themselves, a force to carry setbacks, a force that won't let the future go to the pessimism but take it in use of hope."

(Dietrich Bonhoeffer, from "Motstånd och underkastelse")

Preserve and Fear


Swedish children are of course just as unique as those on Bali. One of us who also has been a child in Sweden is Tage Danielsson, who expressed the unique in every person like this:

We end our attempt to show how to recognise the Great All-fear by giving an example from the adult world.


The personal and the general

Hazardous knives are carried more often

"The youngsters who carry them are scared"

The reflected picture you get from looking into the eyes of another person, is influenced due to this other person. We are all changing the pictures of ourselves. More in the way we look at, listen to and talk to each other, than what we actually say.

You have to use the channels that are available. You can animate another person. You can also steal her self-image.I believe you have to work a lot with self-images and goals. They are both individual. Many of the young, who today are not feeling well, would be saved if someone helped them to find judicious goals they could canalise their energy on.

Let us follow Kalle, a differently abled child! When Kalle begins at day nursery it could be difficult for him to be one of the other children or one together with them. If the difficulties for Kalle will be so big that they also will be a problem to the personnel, there is a big chance someone in the personnel starts to look at Kalle as different. To be looked at as different is something completely different than to be looked at as unique and exceptional. Maybe others in the personnel start to look at Kalle as different as well. And the word different does not have to be spoken in front of the children, they understand that the adults look at Kalle in a certain way anyhow. They can then made up criteria on their own on how Kalle is different. In our primitive need of simplifying and classifying we can commit crude encroachment on children by labeling them. If Kalle is denied to be unique and is classified as different, his self-image will be distorted. He will have no possibility to build up a positive self-image.

There are investigations that show that the self-image of children in kindergarten-age predicts their future school-achievements more than their IQ does. Their self-image is constantly confirmed by other people's opinions, and finally their whole personality will be moulded into a self-fulfilling prophecy. It is the child's total experience-situation that creates their self-image. The pattern can be broken only by bringing in new people or situations.

If Kalle is a creative person it might happen that he has a positive image of himself, an inner room where he can go when the outside is too tough. The better Kalle can handle the outer room , the lesser time he has to spend in the inner one. I know some of our country's most famous artists. They have told me that they, during their schooldays where looked at as different. They felt wrong, but they could handle the situation by having an inner room they could go to whenever they wanted to. A room to rest in, a room to get strength from, a room to build up positive goals in. Their experiences, that gained no value in the room outside, neither by others nor by themselves, could in the inner room grow to something that led further.

The early violation of Kalle and his right to be unique means that he as a child and later as an adult has to handle a completely fragile self-conscience. He seldom shows his original feelings of

He has went through a physical change that has result in a pattern of

Kalle can be a person who will be possessed by power and the need of being in the centre of actions. He will probably punish himself during the rest of his life for being wrong, wrong, wrong.

It is a special, indirect form of expulsion, not to make sure that people with special needs have access to such technological aids (mechanical, optical, electronically etc.) that can increase their possibility to communicate and to make them a part of the mutual fellowship. Such prejudices extort a situation where the handicap takes an unnecessary big space. The goal has to turn it into a tolerable side-effect."

    The key-words and the key-thoughts of the chapter

    To be looked at as unique and exceptional is something completely different than to be looked at as different and as an outsider.

    The special will sooner or later favour the general.

    A human being is dominated by her self-image and her goal. They are both coloured by their surroundings.

    Self-image is more crucial than IQ for future success in school-work.

    The general childhood at day nursery and in school must try to connect to the personal. Otherwise it will all be indifferent.

    The Great All-fear is maybe not so dangerous after all. You cannot multiply the unique.

    No human being is exchangeable. When people experience themselves or their surroundings as exchangeable, the culture will be dangerous.

    It is the personal integrity, not the anonymous one, that shall be protected.

    It is an indirect form of expulsion not to make sure a person gets the aids she needs.

    There will be a lot of "the same together" if you take care of the differently abled people's abilities and wishes.

Next chapter: Liberating technology , or back to Table of Contents.