In their brief to contributors, the editors of this book argued that there is something wrong with the explanatory systems or theories, such as the medical model, which dominate thinking about special education, as well as those proposed to replace them. If theory not only provides ‘a scheme of ideas to explain practice’ (Williams, 1976), but also ‘a framework to guide practice’, then we have here a diagnosis of the ills of special education and a remedy. A barrier to progress in special education is to be removed with the generation of more adequate ‘theories’ about educational failure and improvement. This view of how progress might be made is a meta-theory to account for problems in a field of ‘special education’ and in this chapter I wish to contribute to the task of identifying and removing barriers to progress in special education by elaborating some elements of a meta-theory of my own.