This presentation was delivered by Dr Bob Jackson at Family Advocacy's 2007 Odyssey Conference.
Education is often thought of as relating to school or post school formal education situations. The reality however is that from birth to death, human life is a never-ending stream of learning experiences, most of which occur outside of formal learning structures. In the first five years of life, under the tutelage of parents, a child learns faster than at any other time of life. Through later developmental years children learn complex social and societal skills and behaviours that ensure their community inclusion. In the workplace and life we learn a vast array of skills and competencies from our friends and colleagues. In this paper it is argued that if we study how this learning occurs, we find that children and adults with disabilities can learn these same skills and competencies and learn without limit all through life. However if we set low expectations; isolate people from peers and mentors; set artificial ‘potentials’; engage a person in mind-numbing time-wasting activities, or fail to structure learning to the person’s level, then failure becomes a habit.