October 26

Sally Rogow, Ed.D.

Dr. Sally M. Rogow

Dr. Sally M. Rogow is Professor Emerita, Univeristy of British Columbia.

In thirty-five years of experience working in the field of Special Education, Dr. Rogow has observed a wide variety of abusive situations in schools, treatment centers and care facilities – too often the abusers are the very people entrusted with their care in treatment centers, hospitals, and care homes. Children with disabilities are marginalized and mistreated and too often denied appropriate education and treatment, and are too often overdosed with medicines that cause problems in later life.

Dr. Rogow has conducted numerous studies of language development and literacy in children with severe disabilities. She has discovered many cases where children who are unable to speak can and comprehend language. Her work involved teaching non-verbal children to read and communicate. The success of the project indicated the futility and abuse associated with inappropriate assessment tools and reliance on categorical symptoms without regard for the developmental imperatives that nurture language and communication. Children fall victim to abuse and neglect when diagnosed and assessed with inappropriate testing instruments, when overmedicated, and denied normal learning experiences and denied opportunities for social interaction. Such emotional neglect is often the cause of severe developmental delays, not the disability.

Abuse takes place when children are simply assessed by means of tests designed for a non-handicapped population.   Abuse also takes place when children are misdiagnosed in infancy. An erroneous assumption that a child with severe visual, hearing or physical disabilities suffers from severe mental handicaps causes developmental handicaps. Medical models reduce and oversimplify the presence of disability and ignore the important dynamics of personal and social interactions that are intrinsic to healthy development. 

There is a clear relationship and intrinsic importance to monitoring current research trends and their relationship to understanding the causes of disabilities.  Of concern is that some of the research on genetics, testing and research on young children seems to echo the research conducted on the treatment of children with disabilities in Nazi Germany. 

Dr. Rogow is currently working as Project Director of The Person Within, a project designed to educate teachers, child and social workers, medical personnel and others on strategies to prevent abuse and neglect of children and young people with disabilities: www.thepersonwithin.org. Dr. Rogow is proud to be working with ARHP.

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