Curtin, Michael and Clarke, Gill
Listening to young people with physical disabilities' experiences of education
International Journal of Disability, Development and Education, 52, (3), . (doi:10.1080/10349120500252817).
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There is a general acceptance that inclusion is morally and ethically the most appropriate form of education. However, more research needs to focus on how best to accommodate and support the educational needs of all students, including those with physical disabilities. Listening to young people with physical disabilities talk about their educational experiences is one way to do this. The aim of this research was to investigate the life stories of a small number of young people with physical disabilities, in particular focusing on their educational experiences. Nine young people, between the ages of 10 and 13 years, who used a manual or powered wheelchair and had the cognitive ability to participate in a series of biographical interviews, were recruited. They collaborated in the writing of
their life stories. One theme identified in the analysis of these life stories was their educational experiences. The results highlight that the participants held mixed views about their education. The four who attended a segregated special school were generally positive about their experiences. Participants who had attended a mainstream school talked about positive and negative experiences. Individual and differing perspectives on friendships and the ethos of their school were noted. It is
suggested that young people with physical disabilities need to be considered as individuals and that if schools are to achieve the goal of inclusion they need to develop ways to accommodate each individual’s needs.
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