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Representation and methods of normalisation: Narratives of disability within a South African tertiary institution

DEVAR, Teagan
BOBAT, Shaida
REUBEN, Shanya
July 2020

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Background: The manner in which disability is understood influences how individuals within a society, its institutions, policies and structures are able to accommodate and support people with disabilities (PWD) (Kaplan 2000). Understanding how students with disabilities (SWD) within a higher education context perceive and experience disability as well as how key players, namely, lecturers and disability unit (DU) staff, who influence that experience, is important in further shaping policy and providing a truly inclusive environment for all within HEIs.

 

Objectives: The study aimed to examine the narratives of disability among SWD, lecturers and the DU within a tertiary institution, with a view to better understand their experiences and required initiatives to address the challenges of disability within a higher tertiary institution.

 

Method: The study drew on three theoretical frameworks: social constructionism, feminist disability theory and the Foucauldian perspective. Data for the study were collected through in-depth semi-structured interviews with 12 SWD, seven members of staff from the institution’s DU and five lecturers from within the School of Applied Human Sciences. Data were analysed using thematic analysis.

 

Results: The findings suggested that in spite of both facilitating and positive representations of disability, the dominant representation of disability was perceived as challenging and as a result, disempowering. Students with disabilities were found to adapt, and consequently modify their behaviour by disassociating from their disability in order to fit in.

 

Conclusion: The study highlights the need for creating spaces and engagement within an HEI context that both challenge negative discourses of disability, and at the same time, promote positive representations of disability.

 

 

African Journal of Disability, Vol 9, 2020

Disability Inclusive Development - Nigeria Situational Analysis

THOMPSON, Stephen
June 2020

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This situational analysis (SITAN) addresses the question: “what is the current situation for persons with disabilities in Nigeria?”. It has been prepared for the Disability Inclusive Development programme (which works on access to education, jobs, healthcare, and reduced stigma and discrimination for persons with disabilities in Bangladesh, Jordan, Kenya, Nepal, Nigeria, and Tanzania), to better understand the current context, including COVID-19, and available evidence in Nigeria. It will be helpful for anyone interested in disability inclusion in Nigeria, especially in relation to stigma, employment, education, health, and humanitarian issues.

The promise of equal education not kept: Specific learning disabilities – The invisible disability

GOW, Melanie A
MOSTERT, Yvonne
DREYER, Lorna
February 2020

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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 

Including parents in inclusive practice: Supporting students with disabilities in higher education

DUMA, Princess T.
SHAWA, Lester B.
October 2019

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Background: While a number of research studies have endeavoured to understand students with disabilities’ experience in higher education and have recommended ways to effectively support student success, the role of parental support has been neglected. Many studies have been hampered by a limited understanding of students with disabilities and have, in particular, underestimated students’ ‘access to economic, social and cultural forms of capital’ that caring parents provide.

 

Objectives: This article seeks to explore students with disabilities’ experiences of parental support in the South African higher education context. The research question guiding this article is: What forms of economic, social and cultural capital do parents and extended families provide to students with disabilities to enable them to succeed in higher education?

 

Method: In-depth semi-structured individual and focus group interviews were conducted with 17 students with disabilities at two universities of technology. The interview transcripts were thematically analysed with a view to understanding Pierre Bourdieu’s forms of capital that parents provided.

 

Results: The study found that while parents are not always able to provide material support, they offered rich and varied forms of social and cultural capital that enabled students with disabilities’ academic success.

 

Conclusion: Given that parental support plays an important role in the success of students with disabilities, and this role changes as these students become more independent, this study recommends the need for universities to also pay more attention to involving parents in the education of the former. It is hoped that putting in place appropriate forms of parental involvement can create a conducive environment for universities to provide inclusive education holistically.

 

 

African Journal of Disability, Vol 8, 2019

A snapshot of the chalkboard writing experiences of Bachelor of Education students with visual disabilities in South Africa

SUBRAYEN, Roshanthni
DHUNPATH, Rubby
July 2019

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Background: South African higher education policy frameworks highlight renewed interest in equity, access and participation imperatives for students with disabilities (SWDs). However, students with visual disabilities continue to face barriers in their teaching practice school placements.

 

Objectives: This article aims, firstly, to provide early insights into the barriers experienced by students with visual disabilities in their teaching practice school placements in under-resourced schools in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Secondly, it introduces learning communities and a teaching practice pre-placement booklet to enhance equity, access and participation in teaching practice school placements.

 

Method: This study adopted a qualitative methodology using semi-structured interviews to elicit data from two Bachelor of Education students with visual disabilities, who were part of a teaching practice learning community managed by the Disability Unit at the University. Thematic analysis was used, using Tinto’s Learning Community Model which generated valuable evidence to argue for institutional commitment to achieve equity, access and participation for students with visual disabilities.

 

Results: Through engagement with a teaching practice learning community and a teaching practice pre-placement booklet, two students with visual disabilities responded to and managed the chalkboard in ways that promoted teaching and learning in the classroom. These retention support trajectories provide evidence to support enhanced equity, access and participation. Given the stigma associated with disability and the need for equity at policy level, higher education institutions should seriously consider systemic mechanisms for access, participation and success outcomes in the teaching practice school placements of students with visual disabilities.

 

Conclusion: Barriers to participation signal the need for accessible teaching and learning strategies for use by students with visual disabilities in their teaching practice school placements. Teaching practice assessors should be alerted to contextual differences in resourced and under-resourced school settings and the diverse ways in which SWDs navigate these differences.

 

 

African Journal of Disability, Vol 8, 2019

Access into professional degrees by students with disabilities in South African higher learning: A decolonial perspective

NDLOVU, Sibonokuhle
2019

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Background: Former historically disadvantaged social groups such as women, black people and those with disabilities are expected to participate in the skilled labour force that South Africa has pledged to produce for the 21st century. However, in the South African context, research widely neglects access of those into professional degrees in higher learning. There is a need for such an exploration because people with disabilities have been found to be excluded from professional employment.

 

Objectives: Using decolonial theory, this empirical study sought to explore obstacles confronted by students with disabilities at entry in a specific institution of higher learning in South Africa. The aim was to unveil the invisible obstacles and their causes for an effective intervention.

 

Method: A qualitative research design was adopted and in-depth interviews were conducted to collect data from the participants. This particular dimension of research method was chosen to enable dialogue and development of partnership, which is important for collecting rich data.

 

Results: While policies of inclusion still enabled access of all students into professional degrees, there were however inequitable practices, alienation and inequality that excluded students with disabilities at entry. Obstacles seen at surface level were not the real ones; the real ones were the deep-seated issues of coloniality.

 

Conclusion: If the underlying causes of obstacles at entry are not visible to students with disabilities themselves and the responsible stakeholders, students might continue to be oppressed on entry into the professional degrees and in higher learning generally. Obstacles can only be dismantled when there is an awareness about their deep-seated causes.

 

 

African Journal of Disability, Vol 8, 2019

Success in Africa: People with disabilities share their stories

SHAKESPEARE, Tom
MUGEERE, Anthony
NYARIKI, Emily
SIMBAYA, Joseph
2019

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Background: Whereas most narratives of disability in sub-Saharan Africa stress barriers and exclusion, Africans with disabilities appear to show resilience and some appear to achieve success. In order to promote inclusion in development efforts, there is a need to challenge narratives of failure.

 

Objectives: To gather life histories of people with disabilities in three sub-Saharan African countries (Kenya, Uganda and Sierra Leone) who have achieved economic success in their lives and to analyse factors that explain how this success has been achieved.

 

Methods: Qualitative research study of economic success involving life history interviews with 105 participants with disabilities from both urban and rural settings recruited through disabled people’s organisations and non-governmental organisation partners, framework analysis of transcripts to chart success and success factors.

 

Results: Participants had faced barriers in education, employment and family life. They had largely surmounted these barriers to achieve success on an equal basis with others. They were working in private and public sectors and were self-employed farmers, shopkeepers and craftspeople.

 

Conclusion: The findings of this study suggest that, given the right support, disabled people can achieve economic success, with the implication being that investment in education or training of disabled people can be productive and should be part of overall development efforts for economic reasons, not solely to achieve social justice goals.

 

 

African Journal of Disability, Vol 8, 2019

Funding and inclusion in higher education institutions for students with disabilities

CHIWANDIRE, Desiree
VINCENT, Louise
2019

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Background: Historically, challenges faced by students with disabilities (SWDs) in accessing higher education institutions (HEIs) were attributed to limited public funding. The introduction of progressive funding models such as disability scholarships served to widen access to, and participation in, higher education for SWDs. However, recent years have seen these advances threatened by funding cuts and privatisation in higher education.

 

Objectives: In this article, the funding mechanisms of selected developed and developing democratic countries including the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia, South Africa and India are described in order to gain an insight into how such mechanisms enhance access, equal participation, retention, success and equality of outcome for SWDs. The countries selected are often spoken about as exemplars of best practices in relation to widening access and opportunities for SWDs through government mandated funding mechanisms. Method: A critical literature review of the sample countries’ funding mechanisms governing SWDs in higher education and other relevant government documents; secondary academic literature on disability funding; online sources including University World News, University Affairs, newspaper articles, newsletters, literature from bodies such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Disabled World and Parliamentary Monitoring Group. Data were analysed using a theoretically derived directed qualitative content analysis.

 

Results: Barriers which place SWDs at a substantial educational disadvantage compared to their non-disabled peers include bureaucratisation of application processes, cuts in disability funding, means-test requirements, minimal scholarships for supporting part-time and distance learning for SWDs and inadequate financial support to meet the day-to-day costs that arise as a result of disability.

 

Conclusion: Although the steady increase of SWDs accessing HEIs of the sampled countries have been attributed to supportive disability funding policies, notable is the fact that these students are still confronted by insurmountable disability funding-oriented barriers. Thus, we recommend the need for these HEIs to address these challenges as a matter of urgency if they are to respect the rights of SWDs as well as provide them with an enabling environment to succeed academically.

 

African Journal of Disability, Vol 8, 2019

Exploring the experiences of students with visual impairments at the University of Botswana

OATS, Reginald
DISELE, Chawapiwa
2019

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Purpose: This paper sought to document the responsiveness of the University of Botswana towards the academic needs of students with visual impairments. The study examined the academic experiences of students with visual impairments enrolled at the University and explored their information-seeking needs. The study was informed by the theory of social justice.

Method: This was a qualitative study. Data was collected from students with visual impairments and academic staff from different faculties at the University of Botswana, through document analysis, interviews and observation techniques.

Results: The findings revealed that students with visual impairments experience extra challenges compared to students without disabilities. This is mainly because they do not get full support to enable them to excel academically. Furthermore, lecturers use teaching methodologies that do not accommodate these students, and learning materials are not adapted to formats suitable for them. Access to information is another major concern that hinders the participation of students with visual impairments in tertiary institutions.

Conclusion: The study recommends that lecturers need to be trained on suitable methods to teach students with visual impairments and how best to deliver academic content to them.

 

Disability, CBR and Inclusive Development, Vol 30, No 1 (2019)

Learning From Experience: Guidelines for locally sourced and cost-effective strategies for hygiene at home for people with high support needs.

World Vision/CBM Australia
May 2018

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This learning resource is the result of a partnership between World Vision Australia and CBM Australia that aims to improve inclusion of people with disabilities in World Vision’s Water, Hygiene and Sanitation (WASH) initiatives, including in Sri Lanka. The guidelines are based on experiences and observations from World Vision’s implementation of the Rural Integrated WASH 3 (RIWASH 3) project in Jaffna District, Northern Province, funded by the Australian Government’s Civil Society WASH Fund 2. The four year project commenced in 2014. It aimed to improve the ability of WASH actors to sustain services, increase adoption of improved hygiene practices, and increase equitable use of water and sanitation facilities of target communities within 11 Grama Niladari Divisions (GNDs) in Jaffna District.

To support disability inclusion within the project, World Vision partnered with CBM Australia. CBM Australia has focused on building capacities of partners for disability
inclusion, fostering connections with local Disabled People’s Organisations, and providing technical guidance on disability inclusion within planned activities. World Vision also partnered with the Northern Province Consortium of the Organizations for the Differently Abled (NPCODA) for disability assessment, technical support and capacity building on inclusion of people with disabilities in the project.

HYGIENE AT HOME FOR PEOPLE WITH HIGH SUPPORT NEEDS
This document is one of two developed in the Jaffna District and describes strategies that used to assist households and individuals in hygiene tasks at home. The strategies were designed to be low cost and were developed using locally available materials and skills in the Jaffna District of Sri Lanka.

NOTE: The development of this learning resource was funded by the Australian Government's Civil Society WASH Fund 2.

College for Students with Disabilities: A Guide for Students, Families, and Educators

Maryville University Online
March 2018

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Students with disabilities and their families have many pathways to achieve independence through higher education. First they need to know their rights and how to prepare for higher education.

There are many pathways to achieve independence through higher education, and Maryville University has created this helpful “Frequently Asked Questions” (FAQ) to give you an idea of what to expect as you research your options.

Studying in UK as a disabled student

2018

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A brief introduction is provided about being a person with disabilities and a student in the UK. Information is given on rights, University’s office for disabled students, adjustments and scholarships and loans.

Inclusive teaching and learning in higher education as a route to excellence

DISABLED STUDENTS SECTOR LEADERSHIP GROUP
LAYER, Geoff
January 2017

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The report encourages UK higher education providers (HEPs) to look at how they can support and offer the best environment for disabled students. It considers the requirement to provide ‘reasonable adjustments’ under the UK Equality Act 2010, and suggests actions to mitigate risks associated with that. It has been produced by the Disabled Student Sector Leadership Group, a sector-led group. 

DFE-00044-2017

Right to inclusive education. Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. General comment No. 4 (2016). Article 24

OFFICE OF THE UNITED NATIONS HIGH COMMISSIONERS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS (OHCHR)
September 2016

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"States parties must ensure the realisation of the right of persons with disabilities to education through an inclusive education system at all levels, including pre-schools, primary, secondary and tertiary education, vocational training and lifelong learning, extracurricular and social activities, and for all students, including persons with disabilities, without discrimination and on equal terms with others". "The right to inclusive education encompasses a transformation in culture, policy and practice in all formal and informal educational environments to accommodate the differing requirements and identities of individual students, together with a commitment to remove the barriers that impede that possibility". The difference between exclusion, segregation, integration and inclusion is highlighted. Core features of inclusive education are set out. These general comments take the form of an introduction, normative content, states parties’ obligations, relations with other provisions of the Convention and implementation at national level." 

Best Practice Guides for professional supporting autistic students in Higher education. Guide 1: Best practice for HEI managers and senior academics

FABRI, Marc
ANDREWS, Penny
PUKKI, Heta
March 2016

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This guide is for managers and senior academics at universities and higher education institutions, to provide with information and evidence to help develop policies and practices that will benefit autistic students and improve the student experience. It was developed from work in five European countries. It is one of three guides to help higher education professionals support autistic students.

Best Practice Guides for professionals supporting autistic students in Higher Education. Guide 3: For professionals supporting autistic students within or outside HE Institutions

FABRI, Marc
ANDREWS, Penny
PUKI, Heta
March 2016

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This guide is for specialists directly supporting autistic students. This may be as part of a disability support team within a Higher Education Institution (HEI), or for an independent organisation that provides services to HE. Insights from research and from good practice across Europe are shared to help improve student experiences and engagement with information and services, and to develop expertise.

Understanding the interaction of competence standards and reasonable adjustments

HEWLETT, Katherine
NIGHTINGALE, Christine
STEVENS, Tony
July 2015

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“Higher education institutions (HEIs) have responsibility for developing non-discriminatory competence standards, and designing a study programme to address these competence standards. HEIs also have the responsibility to ensure that assessment methods address the competence standards. Adjustments to ways that competence standards are assessed may be required so that disabled students are not put at a disadvantage in demonstrating their achievement. This guidance aims to support HEIs meet these institutional and legal responsibilities, and promote disability equality” by providing information and examples on key areas. The guidance will be of use to all staff involved in developing and assessing competence standards

Online resource for parents and carers of children with autism

SIVARAMAKRISHNAN, Shobha
March 2015

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An information resource for the parents, carers and any other health professionals involved in the welfare of children on the autism spectrum. Within this document, it is outlined what is meant by the term 'autism', possible signs to look for in assessing and diagnosing a condition on the spectrum, associated physical or mental impairments which can be associated with a condition on the spectrum, and finally how a healthcare or other relevant professional (eg. education) may be best able to manage the condition in a variety of conditions

Note: The user has given permission for the uploaded document to be reproduced and made publicly available on the Source website

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