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Book review: 'A Birth that Changed a Nation' by Mithu Alur
The book "A Birth that Changed a Nation" has been brought out in the form of a study report based on five years of research work spanning the evolutionary journey of 40 years of the author as a mother, educator, innovator, researcher and social activist along with her spastic girl child.

Authored by Mithu Alur, the book advocates for a model of education that integrates education, treatment and psycho-social development of differently abled children. The book also discusses the issue of the scalability of the model with its own arguments. Also, the book argues for inclusive education though the psycho-social model of schooling.

Since the author had also founded the Spastics Society of India, now known as ADAPT, she bats for 'new' holistic approach of care for persons with cerebral palsy and their families.

The 'primary aim' of the research work was 'to find the ways to alleviate the suffering of of the child and family' and 'main objective' of the analysis was 'to study the gaps that existed and examine that has been created', claims the author. Accordingly, the author narrates her own experiences as a mother, care-giver and professional, and the role of family support at umpteen places along with description of the work done by other organisations and individuals in special education who had been associated with her organisation.

For the research work, mainly the 'qualitative data' that provided 'rich insights' was favoured as the author justifies in first person form statement in the book as "I believe that qualitative research is very much a science and has as much value as quantitative research." However, this is a judgmental statement since any research becomes scientific, if it is process-based and is founded on intrinsically validated assumptions.

The book is punctuated by a lot of photographs and many pages continuously filled with them with some captions or names, but they have not been used as a visual data with analysis and thus work as a noise in a research report. Also, at some places, the narrative suddenly changes from first to third person and the focus group profiles and procedures are inadequately described.

The chapterisation of the research report has been done in as 'domain titles' and is spread over 245 pages. The concluding chapter or "Domain X" has the results, outcomes and implications of the research.

The book can be used for secondary research through content analysis and triangulation. In education, no model can be replicated because of the diversity among learners and their contexts. One has to continuously adopt the discover-develop–deliver–diagnose-rediscover cyclic approach to address diversity and accommodation of children to realise inclusive education.

Since not much research work and literature on special education exists in India, the book published by Sage Publications is a welcome addition.

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