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Introduction

This unit offers a review of psychological research and practice aimed at understanding and explaining autistic spectrum disorders (ASDs) and helping people who have them. The discussion ranges from problems of identification and diagnosis, through theoretical research into causes, to an evaluation of selected therapeutic approaches. The chapter highlights the diversity of perspectives that exist in this area. It draws on the personal testimony of people with autism and their families, as wel
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6.2 Shaping knowledge

It seems inevitable that any understandings we have will have been shaped and influenced by other (past and present) members of the same culture(s) we belong to. Most of these influences ‘just happen’: they arise out of our experiences as part of a culture whose members have had their experiences and shared them over many centuries. However, knowledge can also be deliberately influenced by powerful elements within a society: as we saw in Section 5.3, the church suppressed Galileo's r
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5.7 Summary

This section of the unit has made you aware that:

  • science is formed by a community of practice, creating knowledge and requiring a special language for its communication;

  • there is a difference between objective scientific methods and subjective ways of knowing;

  • political power influences scientific discoveries, and scientific knowledge is always socially embedded;

  • public understanding and perception of scien
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5.5 How society constructs scientific thinking

To understand science, it is important that we appreciate the contexts in which discoveries are made or suppressed. We can see from the account on the previous page that human understanding of the universe has changed significantly over time. The social and political climate in which scientists work has always had a profound influence on what can and cannot be said, done, published or even postulated as worthy of further investigation. (You could undertake a similar study of the debates on hu
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5.1 Introduction to the social construction of scientific knowledge

This section explores how scientific knowledge and scientific literacy can be built up through working in communities of practice (groups of people who work together and share a common language). We also look at issues relating to the ideas of subjectivity and objectivity, and at deductive and inductive thinking. Finally, we explore the public understanding of science by examining how society, in wider terms, constructs or influences scientific thinking and understanding.

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4.2 Knowing mathematics

How much mathematics do you think you know? You may feel that you know quite a lot, or that you are ‘out of practice’ and have forgotten much of it; or perhaps you were never very secure in your mathematical knowledge and feel that you did not achieve complete understanding. Primary teachers are expected to have a confident knowledge of mathematics. You are not expected to reach such a level for this unit, but you do need to know a fair amount. All the mathematics that children go on
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2.1 Language in everyday life

Language is an ever-present feature of human life. In the developed world in particular, we are surrounded by language. Radio and television provide a soundtrack to the lives of many people. Written language is part of everything from cereal packets and street signs, to relatively new technologies such as email and text messaging. If you were completely alone, far away from any other people or any kind of human contact, how long would it be before words came into your head, perhaps because of
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1.5 Talking, thinking and learning

One of the main points which the unit will be making is that information and knowledge are not the same thing and that, in order to learn, learners have to engage actively with new information. We hope that you will learn to apply your growing knowledge by relating it to your professional context, and that, by questioning and analysing both theory and practice, you will be able to reach your own conclusions.

One way of engaging with knowledge is to ask questions. Earlier we suggested th
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Learning outcomes

After studying this unit you will have:

  • explored your knowledge, attitudes and feelings in each subject area;

  • begun to identify, in each subject, areas of knowledge where you are confident and others where you need to deepen your understanding;

  • extended your knowledge and understanding of the place that language, mathematics and science have in the everyday life of individuals and societies.

References

Department for Education and Skills (DfES) (2003a) Every Child Matters: Next Steps, London, DfES.
Department for Education and Skills (DfES) (2003b) Together from the Start: Practical Guidance for Professionals Working with Disabled Children, London, DfES.
Jeffs, T. and Smith, M. K. (1999) Informal Education, 2nd edn, Nottingham, Education Now.

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4.2 Equivalence relations
Number systems and the rules for combining numbers can be daunting. This unit will help you to understand the detail of rational and real numbers, complex numbers and integers. You will also be introduced to modular arithmetic and the concept of a relation between elements of a set.
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4.2 Social work roles in practice

You will already have taken a look at the Framework documents for your nation, all of which contain broadly the same key roles, but you may like to review them now. It can sometimes be difficult to see how these roles actually translate into working with real people in actual social work settings. It is important that you are able to do this as it will be something that you need to do in order to produce evidence on your practice learning opportunities. The following activity takes just one o
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3.7.1 Spoiled identities: stigma

In his classic book Stigma (1963) the sociologist Erving Goffman argues that stigma is a relationship of devaluation in which an individual is disqualified from full social acceptance. Society establishes ways of categorising persons and what are felt to be the ‘natural’ or ‘normal’ attributes for each category. Stigma, then, is essentially a pejorative label that sticks, one that is applied to an individual's ‘differentness’, their perceived non-confo
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References

Allan, J. (1999) Actively Seeking Inclusion: pupils with special needs in mainstream schools, London, Falmer Press.
Alston, J. (1995) Assessing and Promoting Writing Skills, Stafford, NASEN Enterprises Ltd.
Benjamin, S., Nind, M., Hall, K., Collins, J. and Sheehy, K. (2002) ‘Moments of inclusion and exclusion: pupils negotiating classroom contexts’, pa
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Learning outcomes

On completion of this unit, you will:

  • have developed an understanding of a context in which listening to the perspectives of children is important in developing inclusive education;

  • have gained an insight into the varying perspectives of children;

  • have reflected on how children's perspectives fit into your developing model of good practice and how they relate to your own perspectives.

Profile: John Flynn
Author of more than 110 scientific publications, Dr. John Flynn's research focuses on the evolution of mammals and Mesozoic vertebrates, geological dating, plate tectonics, and biogeography. He has led almost 50 paleontological expeditions, supported by NSF, National Geographic, NASA, etc. In 2001 Flynn received a Guggenheim Fellowship for a year of research in South America and has served as President of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology. With a specialty in mammalian paleontology and pale
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Learn Anarcho-Capitalism Online

Just about everyone is drawn to the libertarian respect for property rights. Yet most people draw back from fully embracing property rights and taking libertarianism to its fulfillment in "anarcho-capitalism" or free-market anarchy. "Sure," the cynics say, "it would be great to live in a society without the government and taxes, but w
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17.S914 Conversations You Can't Have on Campus: Race, Ethnicity, Gender and Identity (MIT)
What is race? What is ethnicity? How can communication and relationships between men and women be improved? What causes segregation in our society? How do stereotypes develop and why do they persist? How do an individual's racial, ethnic, and sexual identities form and develop? This course explores these topics and more.

24.09 Minds and Machines (MIT)
This course is an introduction to many of the central issues in a branch of philosophy called philosophy of mind.

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