Terminological problems in special psychology and special pedagogy



Cultural-historical determination of terms in special psychology and special pedagogy is discussed. The core concept of these disciplines has evolved from “abnormal children” in the beginning of the XXth century to “children with disabilities” (“children with developmental disorders”) nowadays. Changes in these spheres in Russia at the beginning of the 1990s started with random and groundless introduction of new terms that did not refer to the contents of actual science and practice. At the same time, in the process of international shifts in educational paradigm for such children, establishing the system of proper educational institutions and changes in social attitudes several euphemisms and vague terms were introduced. Though these terms are politically correct in common speech, they are inapplicable to professional literature and communication. Absurdity and disutility of these terms are demonstrated for some phrases used for general indication of all the types of developmental disorders. Such terms as “special children”, “children with special educational needs” may be referred not only to children with developmental disorder but, for instance, to gifted children. “Children with psychophysiological peculiarities” is a completely meaningless term because each child has his\her own peculiar characteristics. The term “disorder” is often used in contradiction with its lexical meaning. Inadequate terms usage leads to incorrect understanding of special psychology and special pedagogy realities.

General Information

Keywords: concept, term, euphemism, lexical meaning, special psychology, special psychology, special pedagogy, correctional psychology, correctional pedagogy

Journal rubric: Discussions and Discourses

Article type: scientific article

For citation: Lubovsky V.I., Valyavko S.M. Terminological problems in special psychology and special pedagogy . Kul'turno-istoricheskaya psikhologiya = Cultural-Historical Psychology, 2010. Vol. 6, no. 1, pp. 50–55. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


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Information About the Authors

Vladimir I. Lubovsky, Doctor of Psychology, Professor, Full Member of RAE, Professor of the Department of Rapid Psychology and Rehabilitation, Faculty of Clinical and Rapid Psychology, Member of the dissertation council, Member of the editorial board of the journals “Cultural-Historical Psychology”, “Clinical and Special Psychology”, Moscow State University of psychology and education (MSUPE), Professor of the defectology faculty of the Moscow City Pedagogical University, leading researcher at the Institute of Special Education and Complex Rehabilitation of Moscow State Pedagogical University, Moscow, Russia

Svetlana M. Valyavko, PhD in Psychology, Associate Professor, Department of Clinical and Special Psychology, Moscow City University, Moscow, Russia, ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7195-6374, e-mail: valyavko@yandex.ru



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