“Skillfully places the 40-year history of the Immortelle Children’s Center within the larger context of Trinidad/Tobago’s post-colonial development and its current state of 'liminal' in-between-ness, poised to enter the next stage of pursuing the moral imperatives of development by ensuring educational services for children with disabilities.”
—Maya Kalyanpur, Professor, University of San Diego, USA
“A penetrative ethnographic case study that skillfully weaves the voices of parents, caregivers, teachers, and community activists into a study pierced through with empathy.”
—Paula Morgan, Professor, University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago
“Grounded in the rigor of ethnography and the authority forged by lived experience, Harry offers a multifaceted historical portrait of unsettling questions about human rights and competence, in a young nation of the South with a deep commitment to equality.”
—Alfredo Artiles, Professor, Arizona State University, USA
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.
Beth Harry is Professor of Special Education at the Department of Teaching and Learning, University of Miami, USA.