I've often thought that I needed people going into the field of Special Education to read Peter Hoeg's Borderliners first, because despite all the studies or textbooks you might read, perhaps you first need to hear about this part of human experience from the inside. Other bits of literature I find really important include The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon, Tim Burton's film Edward Scissorhands, and, on a slightly more academic note, Learning Disabilities and Life Stories by Rodis, Garrod, and Boscardin.
Why is storytelling essential? At the risk of offending, I've always thought that those in Special Education, teachers, administrators, and academics, are much better at sympathy than empathy, and that training empathy is something extremely difficult.
Any thoughts? Any other recommendations?