Fostering equity by offering the best education possible to all students is one of the main goals of inclusive schooling. One instrument to implement individualised education is individualised education planning (IEP). IEP requires cooperation between special and regular teachers. From research on school leadership it is known that leadership styles are connected to the way, school leaders use their scope of action with respect to fostering collaboration. However, little is known about the relationship between the leadership of a school, the provision of structures for collaboration, and the implementation of IEP in an inclusive context. The article focuses on the question to what extent transformational (TL) and instructional leadership (IL) are connected to the provision of structures for collaboration and how TL and IL as well as structures for collaboration relate to the implementation of IEP directly and indirectly. Based on data of N = 135 German schools, a path model was calculated. It revealed medium relations between TL, IL, and structures for collaboration as well as a medium effect from structures to collaboration on implementation of IEP. The effect from TL towards implementation of IEP was fully mediated by structures for collaboration, while the effect from IL persisted.
Purpose: To explore the experiences of persons with physical disabilities accessing and using rehabilitation services in Sierra Leone.
Materials and methods: Interviews of 38 individuals with differing physical disabilities in three locations across Sierra Leone. An inductive approach was applied, and qualitative content analysis used.
Results: Participants faced several barriers to accessing and using rehabilitation services. Six themes emerged: The initial and ongoing need for rehabilitation throughout life; challenges with the cost of rehabilitation and transportation to reach rehabilitation services; varied experiences with rehabilitation staff; coming to terms with disability and encountering stigma; the struggles without and opportunities with rehabilitation services; and limited knowledge and availability of rehabilitation services.
Conclusions: There is a continued need to address the barriers associated with the affordability of rehabilitation through the financing of rehabilitation and transportation and exploring low-cost care delivery models. Rehabilitation services, assistive devices, and materials need to be available in existing rehabilitation centres. A national priority list is recommended to improve the availability and coordination of rehabilitation services. Improved knowledge about disability and rehabilitation services in the wider community is needed. Addressing discriminatory health beliefs and the stigma affecting people with disabilities through community interventions and health promotion is recommended.
Compulsory distance education has always sought to be inclusive, providing educational opportunities for K-12 students unable to attend mainstream, face-to-face schools for medical, geographical, or personal reasons. However, how to effectively engage these diverse learners has remained a perpetual challenge, with a need for further investigation into the nature of student engagement with compulsory school distance contexts and how teachers can best support it. This qualitative study used focus groups (n=2 groups, n=16 participants) to examine teacher definitions and student engagement strategies within eKindy-12 distance education in Queensland, Australia. Categorical analysis was conducted using a priori codes for definitions, focusing on four previously established engagement types (i.e. behavioural, emotional, cognitive, and agentic engagement), and in vivo codes for strategies. Teacher definitions focused strongly on behavioural engagement, but most also contained elements of emotional and cognitive engagement; agentic engagement was only occasionally evidenced via practice descriptions. Teachers described engaging students by: building relationships, creating a safe classroom environment through differentiation, using inclusive technological tools to facilitate interaction and monitor progress, making learning fun and relevant, drawing on school-wide pedagogical frameworks and teaching strategies, and encourage self-regulation. Findings suggest distance education teachers face unique challenges around evidencing engagement and supporting student agency.
This article critically examines user-involvement in the service delivery process for assistive activity technology.
Data were collected in semi-structured interviews with 44 end users of assistive activity technology and in focus group interviews with 11 professionals at Norway’s Assistive Technology Centre. Data was analysed according to a stepwise deductive–inductive approach.
Flawed organisational principles like division of responsibility, unclear regulations, and a lack of competence with assistive activity technology among service professionals have hindered user involvement in the service delivery process.
A missing knowledge of assistive activity technology among professionals and the current organisation of services creates barriers for a positive collaboration with users in the service delivery process of assistive activity technology.
Purpose: To examine how mobility and mobility impairment affect quality of life; to develop a descriptive system (i.e., questions and answers) for a novel mobility-related quality of life outcome measure.
Materials and methods: Data were collected through semi-structured interviews. Participants were recruited predominantly from NHS posture and mobility services. Qualitative framework analysis was used to analyse data. In the first stage of analysis the key dimensions of mobility-related quality of life were defined, and in the second stage a novel descriptive system was developed from the identified dimensions.
Results: Forty-six interviews were conducted with 37 participants (aged 20–94 years). Participants had a wide range of conditions and disabilities which impaired their mobility, including cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, and arthritis. Eleven dimensions of mobility-related quality of life were identified: accessibility, safety, relationships, social inclusion, participation, personal care, pain and discomfort, independence, energy, self-esteem, and mental-wellbeing. A new outcome measure, known as MobQoL, was developed.
Conclusions: Mobility and mobility impairment can have significant impacts on quality of life. MobQoL is the first outcome measure designed specifically to measure the impact of mobility on quality of life, and therefore has utility in research and practice to measure patient outcomes related to rehabilitation.
Purpose: Many children with autism spectrum disorder do not have symbolic play skills. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of a training procedure on the acquisition, maintenance, and generalization of object-substitution symbolic play in children with autism spectrum disorder.
Methods: A single-case experimental design (multiple-probe across four behaviors) was used. One girl (5 years) and two boys (4–5 years) participated in this study. The training procedure involved withdrawing necessary items in play activities, supplying multiple substitutes, and providing hierarchical assistive prompts. Each child’s symbolic play responses across baseline, intervention, and follow-up conditions were recorded and graphed. Data analysis involved visual inspection of graphs.
Results: The results indicated that the procedure effectively increased and maintained object-substitution symbolic play. Generalization to untaught play activities occurred in all children, and symbolic play increased in the free play setting for one child.
Conclusions: Arranging play activities with missing items increased opportunities for children to engage in symbolic play. The training procedure can be used in clinical and educational settings as an initial step to establish and improve complex play behavior in children with autism spectrum disorder who lack such skills.
An Emancipatory Disability Research in Mongolia was carried out as part of a project aimed at promoting independent living among young adults with disabilities living in the national capital Ulaanbaatar (UB). It was focused on young adults with disabilities living in the 9 districts of UB and was seen as a part of the process which provides information and skills to persons for independent living. It was based on the social model of disability - it looked at the different ways in which the society creates disabling barriers which block or make difficult the participation of persons with disabilities in the different domains of life. The idea of conducting the emancipatory research came from an interaction between some Mongolian DPOs and Tegsh Niigem, a Mongolian NGO active in the areas of rehabilitation, who then asked AIFO-Italy for technical support to conduct it. EDR in Mongolia was implemented through a new approach called a “Community-Based Emancipatory Disability Research” (CB-EDR). A group of young persons with different disabilities were identified as volunteer-researchers by their DPOs, trained and then supported to carry out research in 12 broad areas which they had identified, over a period of 18 months. The researchers, individually or in small groups, carried out research on one theme at a time by collecting information about it from the field. They met periodically to share and discuss the findings of their research and to build a common understanding about the key issues related to the selected theme, and what could they do to overcome the barriers they had identified.
Background: This research is part of a larger project on the exploration of inequalities in South African higher education. This current study focussed on the implementation of policies to eradicate inequalities in an inclusive education system.
Objectives: This article aimed to establish the implementation of policy by researching the lived experiences of students with specific learning disabilities (SLDs) studying in the university.
Method: A qualitative, systematic review was employed as the research methodology. Original peer-reviewed qualitative studies published between 1994 and 2017 were systematically reviewed. The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) was used to ensure rigorous reviews. The Critical Appraisal Skills Programme (CASP) was used to guide the process of critical appraisal of the selected articles which resulted in a total of 10 articles being selected for reviewing. The target population of this research comprised undergraduate students diagnosed with SLD. Semi-structured interviews were the main data collection tools used in the studies that were reviewed. Data from the selected articles were extracted and synthesised.
Results: The dominant themes that emerged from the review were: (1) fear of stigmatisation; (2) gaps in policy implementation; (3) experiences vary across departments; and (4) self-determination and family support as success factors.
Conclusion: An important aspect in the transformation of higher education institution is to ensure the closing of the disjuncture between policy and implementation in support of students with SLD.
African Journal of Disability, Vol 9, 2020
Background: Inclusive education envisages the improvement of the quality of education for all learners. This further implies that schools must adjust all systems of teaching and learning to accommodate all learners regardless of their diverse needs. The reduction of educational inequalities through inclusive practices is aimed at supporting the accomplishment of academic outcomes for all. Learners presenting with neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs) place specific requirements on teachers, particularly when they find themselves in mainstream classrooms.
Objectives: This study focused on the learning support strategies used by recently qualified teachers in accommodating learners with NDDs in mainstream classrooms in the Gauteng province of South Africa.
Method: A qualitative approach was used to explore the support strategies used by recently qualified teachers in mainstream classrooms when dealing with learners with NDDs. Purposive sampling was used to select six recently qualified teachers from different mainstream classroom. Data were collected using semi-structured interviews, observations and critical incident reports.
Results: The findings revealed that teachers employ a variety of support strategies such as cooperative learning, peer learning, ability grouping, extensive visual aids and curriculum differentiation in an attempt to support learners. The support provided by the teachers was evident in their performance as learners with NDD were able to learn and understand the lessons irrespective for their barrier to learning.
Conclusion: Contrary to literature findings that teachers do not support learners with diverse needs because of lack of skills, training and knowledge, this study revealed that recently qualified teachers employ a variety of support strategies to support learners with NDDs. However, it appeared that these support strategies were rather general teaching and learning strategies. More support strategies should be applied to help learners with NDD in the mainstream classroom.
African Journal of Disability, Vol 9, 2020
This report is a study into the intersection of gender, violence and disabilities, with a focus on the role of disabilities in increasing the risk of sexual and gender-based violence and domestic violence perpetrated against women with disabilities and women parenting children with disabilities in Dushanbe, Bokhtar and Khorog (Tajikistan). The study targeted women and men between the ages of 18-65 living with disabilities or parenting children with disabilities. Field data were collected through 12 focus group discussions (four in each location) divided by age and gender, with men and women living with disabilities or parenting children with disabilities. 30 repeat in-depth interviews were conducted with women and men with disabilities among different age groups, as well as women with children with disabilities.
Today’s society promises that people with disabilities can access anything, but in practice there are numerous obstacles, and the ways in which people deal with them can be easily missed or taken for granted by policy makers. This article draws on a project in which researchers ‘go along’ people with disabilities in Sweden who demonstrate and recount accessibility troubles in urban and digital settings. They display a set of mundane methods for managing inaccessibility: (a) using others, (b) making deals and establishing routines, (c) mimicking or piggybacking conventions, (d) debunking others’ accounts and performing local politics. The employment of these shared but tailored methods shows the difficulties to be accepted that people with disabilities still face, as well as the wide-ranging tension that exists between the grand rhetoric of inclusion and modest results. The tension implies that people with disabilities are required to be creative.
- Declarations and policies often say that people with disabilities should have access to anything, but in practice this is not the case.
- This study investigates what people with disabilities actually do when they have trouble accessing various places or resources. The results show their common and practical ways, and these ways are often taken for granted, overlapping, and combined.
- People with disabilities ask others to support them when they face troubles to access places or resources, they make deals with important actors and they develop routines. They also observe, imitate and follow others’ actions, to pick out precisely those ways that suit their needs.
- When people with disabilities find their ways in today’s society they also act with words. They argue against other people’s excuses or justifications for not providing access.
- The study has found a lot of frustration among people with disabilities who get blocked, excluded or delayed. This gives them motives to engage in politics.
Purpose: People with albinism in Tanzania are severely stigmatised. A measurement tool to assess this stigmatisation among adults is lacking. This research aimed at the cultural validation of two Scales to measure stigma related to albinism: The Albinism Social Distance Scale (A-SDS) and the Albinism Explanatory Model Interview Catalogue Community Stigma Scale (A-EMIC-CSS).
Method: Conceptual, item, semantic and operational equivalences were evaluated through focus groups and interviews. A pilot study among adults attending religious institutes, as a representation of Tanzanian society, was conducted to assess the measurement equivalence. There were 101 respondents for the test and 79 respondents for the re-test.
Results: Conceptual, item, semantic and operational equivalences of the Scales are sufficient. In terms of measurement equivalence, the internal consistency of the A-SDS and A-EMIC-CSS are adequate. However, social desirability should be taken into account when interpreting the findings.
Conclusion and Implications: The insights provided by this article can aid in the development of tools to measure stigma cross-culturally and across stigmatising conditions. The combination of the two Scales for short and long-term effect measurement is recommended.
Purpose: The Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBSK) is an ongoing screening and early intervention programme for children in India. Children with birth defects and developmental disabilities from rural and urban communities are referred for treatment and therapies to early intervention centres located in urban areas. This study primarily aimed at determining caregiver uptake and compliance to referral advice of the RBSK, with the larger goal of determining the utility of the community-based screening and district-based intervention service model for caregivers of children with disabilities.
Method: Three administrative blocks and one municipal corporation area of Pune district, in Maharashtra, were randomly selected. The sample consisted of 115 caregivers of children with disabilities. They were interviewed using a semi-structured questionnaire that investigated uptake of referral advice, treatment outcome, current health status of the child and reasons for noncompliance, three to nine months after the first referral by the RBSK team.
Results: Sixty-four caregivers were aware of their child’s disability, but most children remained untreated. After screening and referral by the RBSK team, compliance was high for treatable conditions like congenital heart defects. Treatment was discontinued for 83% (24 out of 29) of children with developmental disabilities. Reasons for discontinuation included lengthy waiting time, distance to facility, difficulty in transporting the child, loss of wages, and denial of the child’s disability.
Conclusion and Implications: The results indicated that the RBSK programme provides treatment opportunities for children who are left undiagnosed and untreated in the community. Providing rehabilitation services at district centres is a barrier for service uptake. Alternative models such as early childhood development screening and integrating rehabilitation services at the primary healthcare level may be more feasible to provide services for children with disabilities in India.
Shy children can present challenges for teachers aiming at inclusive classrooms. Their educational attainments can be lower than their peers, they may have difficulties in adjustment to school and they can be at risk of meeting clinical criteria for social anxiety disorder. One recurrent finding is that they are often quiet across a range of school situations. The study reported here focused on teachers’ strategies to engage shy students in frequently occurring oral activities, such as group work, in elementary school classrooms. Data were gathered through post-observation stimulated-recall interviews with eight teachers who had experience of success with shy students and three focus groups with 11 similarly experienced teachers. The analysis examined teachers’ actions with these children to enhance their visible engagement in activities that require oral participation. The findings suggest that although teachers attended to the psychosocial aspects of student engagement, there was little emphasis on the pedagogic purposes of oral activities with these children. We conclude that more attention should be paid to the academic aspects of oral activities when aiming at inclusion for shy children.
There is growing awareness and international commitment to improving sexual and reproductive health for persons with intellectual disabilities. Despite this, people with intellectual disabilities continue to face stigma and have limited access to sexual health education and information. This qualitative phenomenological study uses data from 10 interviews to describe what it means to teach sexual and reproductive health and rights to students with intellectual disabilities at special-needs schools in southern Sweden. The meaning of teachers’ experience is described through their efforts to ‘accept the challenge to coach special-needs students into adulthood’. Findings show that sexual and reproductive health in special-needs schools covers a broad range of topics and that the teacher must adapt to students’ shifting needs. They also reveal that teachers are motivated and have access to the necessary resources to teach sexual and reproductive health but feel they lack the skills to address students’ particular sexual health issues, including questions of culture and religion. Schools are the main source of sexual health information in Sweden and therefore play a crucial role in providing equal education and promoting public health.
Purpose: Existing physical activity interventions do not reach a considerable proportion of physically disabled people. This study assessed feasibility and short-term effects of Activity Coach+, a community-based intervention especially targeting this hard-to-reach population.
Methods: Feasibility was determined by reach, dropouts, and compliance with the protocol. Physical activity was measured with the Activ8 accelerometer and the adapted SQUASH questionnaire. Health outcomes were assessed by body composition, blood pressure, hand grip force, 10-metre walk test, 6-minute walk test, and the Berg Balance Scale. The RAND-36, Exercise Self-Efficacy Scale, Fatigue Severity Scale, and IMPACT-S were administered. Measurements were performed at baseline and after 2 and 4 months. Changes over time were analysed by Friedman tests.
Results: Twenty-nine participants enrolled during the first 4 months, of whom two dropped out. Intervention components were employed in 86–100% of the participants. Physical activity did not change after the implementation of Activity Coach+. Body mass index (p = 0.006), diastolic blood pressure (p = 0.032), walking ability (p = 0.002), exercise capacity (p = 0.013), balance (p = 0.014), and vitality (p = 0.049) changed over time.
Conclusions: Activity Coach + is feasible in a community setting. Indications for effectivity of Activity Coach + in hard-to-reach people with a physical disability were found.
Purpose: The purpose of this study is to provide a description of the learning environment at Folk High School for participants with high-functioning autism and to examine their learning experience at Folk High School.
Methods: A qualitative interview study was conducted with 21 participants who were enrolled at Folk High School which had been adapted to suit young adults with high-functioning autism. The interviews were analysed by means of a thematic content analysis which resulted in the identification of 6 themes related to learning experiences at Folk High School.
Results: The participants enjoyed themselves and felt secure at Folk High School. They felt that they and their academic endeavours were suitably recognised, acknowledged, and understood. They reported that the teaching was suitably adapted for them and they felt that they could succeed in their studies. A frequent report that they made concerned their experience of clear structures in the teaching process and its predictability. The participants stated that Folk High School has the ability to satisfy each participant’s needs, which entailed lower levels of perceived stress than what they had experienced in their previous schooling. The participants experienced personal development during their time at Folk High School.
Conclusions: Folk High School, and its special character, is able to successfully satisfy the needs of participants with high-functioning autism. Many of the participants, for the first time in their lives, experienced a sense of inclusion in an educational system and felt that they could succeed in their studies. However, there exists a risk that they become institutionalised, which entails that the participants function well primarily in Folk High School’s safe and caring environment.
Summaries on the findings from the following queries:
This query is a short summary of information gathered from interviews with implementers working on education for children with disabilities in Syria.
For people with intellectual disabilities who do not enter the labour market, school is usually the main chapter of their socialization with the wider society. Nevertheless, little is known about their long-term perceptions of this period. We conducted interviews and focus groups on the school experiences of 16 Portuguese adults with intellectual disabilities. Results show differences between older and younger participants in their accounts of social relations and educational methods, which result from changes in special educational policies in Portugal. Overall, members of both groups evaluate their school experience positively. Our results indicate that although there is a move towards more inclusive schools, discrimination is still prevalent. These results are discussed in terms of their psychosocial consequences, as well as their implications for educational policies, and inclusion. This study contributes to a better understanding of the school experiences of people with intellectual disabilities and how policies impact them.
In the year 2015, Austria was one of the main European destinations of displaced persons. According to education authoritiesaround 15,000 children with a forced migration background of school age who arrived in Austria over the course of a few months from late2015 to the beginning of 2016 called for immediate and partly temporary solutions. Due to Austrian legislation and unlike other countries,every child living in Austria between the ages of six to fifteen (or for nine years of schooling) is entitled to receive compulsory education. Though the school administration of Vienna generally promotes an inclusive approach to education in regular schools, schools inneighbourhoods with a large refugee population were reportedly unable to provide appropriate and adequate education for all children. Inresponse, the local school authority in Vienna decided to establish temporary classrooms in refugee accommodations. This article describesand analyses the emergence of new educational structures from the point of view of university students and lecturers who took part in theone and a half years of its implementation. The article thereby aims to document specific perspectives on educational emergency measuresat a certain point of time. In both the primary and secondary sectors, the emergence of a new temporary field of specialised and exceptional education were observed and recorded in a thick description of dynamic processes of trans-institutional, trans-organisational, transprofessional, communal, and individual development. Thus, the article presents a multifaceted picture of problems in refugee education under exceptional circumstances. The findings illustrate how insufficient educational opportunities for those falling outside the age of compulsory schooling – in particular, preschool children as well as youth older than fifteen – diminish possibilities for the inclusion of these children within and beyond education.
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