The impression that I get : educational inclusion explored through the voices of young people with vision impairment
conference contributionposted on 2011-01-01, 00:00 authored by Ben Whitburn
Despite the notion of educational inclusion of students with disabilities increasing in popularity, the day-to-day reality of its effectiveness remains mostly unknown. This paper reports key findings of a small-scale qualitative study that was conducted with a group of young people with vision impairment who attended an inclusive secondary school. The aim of the research was to ascertain their voiced experiences of their inclusion. Relevant to the study was the researcher’s insider status, which allowed for his unique insight and shared experiences with participants to influence data collection and analysis. The students reported a constant trade off that occurred between their aspirations for access and autonomy and practices of other stakeholders in the school that both facilitated and inhibited their inclusion. In sum, the students’ inclusion was ineffective because of habitual inhibiting actions of others. Recommendations are made based on Slee’s (2001) call for altered teaching and learning realities to promote educational inclusion, and a model of social justice that could bring about increased student agency (Higgins, Macarthur & Kelly, 2009).