Welcome to Special World, a resource website for all those concerned with the education of children with special educational needs and/or disabilities.
Special World exists for one reason: to provide a forum where the parents of children with special educational needs and the professionals that work with their children can meet, exchange information and share best practice. In creating this forum we have responded to two compelling developments: the ever closer integration of professional practice as a result of the worldwide web and the need for the widest possible distribution of information and ideas.
Today, researchers and practitioners throughout the world are searching for the same elusive answers to what causes certain childhood conditions, whether they can be prevented or detected at an earlier age and what can be done once they are identified to maximise a child’s lifelong learning. But disrupting this work is the well-established disconnect between research and practice and the stubborn barriers that prevent best practice being shared. We know that Special World can’t solve these problems on its own but we feel we can make a difference in three ways.
First, Special World will be international in its outlook and content. We have made a modest start in this issue by publishing contributions from England, Canada, Scotland, Serbia and the USA. Wherever in the world you are reading this we want to hear from you.
We want to hear your news, know about your forthcoming events, be up-dated on your research and hear about your achievements. Where possible we will provide links to original sources so that any of our readers wanting to know more about you and your work can find you in a click. In this way we hope Special World will become a forum for and a gateway to our global community.
Second, while Special World will cover any and every topic to do with special educational needs we are especially interested in the transformative potential of technology. Read the articles in this issue and you will understand why. But bear in mind that we say, ‘potential’. Experience has taught us that ground-breaking technology needs skilful and dedicated practitioners if it is to make a difference. We know you are out there and we want to tell your story.
Third, there will be no subscription fee and you won’t be asked to join an association. Our hope is that this archive will become an important resource for parents and practitioners. In time we plan to refine this archive so that readers will be able to search for and download articles that reflect their particular interests.
Finally, I would like to thank our contributors. There is always a caveat to the word ‘free’ and Special World is no exception but it would not have been possible without the staff and contributors and reviewers.
Mick Archer – Special World Editor