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How specialized is the teaching of the group of learners with disabilities and difficulties? This is one of the most basic and perplexing questions in the education of this group. This is a highly significant question in the context of current education policy and practice. There has been a growing awareness of the need for universalizing curricula; however there have been few attempts to clarify the nature, rationale, and evidence-base for particular modifications. We summarize the findings that have emerged from two successive strands of critique focused on our opening question. We argue that research-led understanding and explication of 'special' pedagogies need to integrate teacher knowledge about learning processes and about the nature of disability, curriculum, and pedagogic strategy.