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Zahra Pabani
Zahra Pabani
Partner - Family Law
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How the law defines the special educational needs of autistic children [2006] CFLQ 23
Date:20 SEP 2011

This article offers an account of the ways that the legal system is able to make it appear as if it has found 'the right answer' in cases involving the special educational needs of children with autism. The article explains the uncertainties and complexities relating to the identification, diagnosis and treatment of autism and the problems that these present for schools and local education authorities. Applying Luhmann's theory of social systems, it describes how courts and tribunals dealing with special educational needs are able to transform these uncertainties and complexities into knowledge on which it is able to base its decisions. These decisions may make satisfactory law, but they are likely to leave unresolved fundamental problems concerning the education of children with disabilities.

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