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Special education reforms in Ireland: changing systems, changing schools

KENNY, Neil
MCCOY, Selina
MIHUT, Georgiana
2020

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Ireland has a distinct and complex history regarding the education of persons with special educational needs (SEN) and in its approach to inclusion. Special and general education largely developed in parallel and separately. As recently as the 1990s, legal actions by parents seeking educational rights for children with severe disabilities prompted appropriate provision for these students and a shift towards inclusive schools. The Education for Persons with Special Educational Needs (EPSEN) Act set out important changes – although not all implemented – followed by a series of changes in resource allocation, culminating in the removal of the requirement for students to be diagnosed in order to access supports. International evidence suggests that resource allocation based on learners’ profile and SEN diagnosis have been linked to the overidentification of SEN students. Ability to pay for private assessments has also been shown to exacerbate inequality in Ireland and beyond. We examine how Ireland's policy changes are impacting on schools and students, drawing on emerging evidence. We consider concerns over the adequacy of teacher professional development, the intended and potentially unintended consequences from a process of ‘domestication’ at the school level and ultimately whether the changes are accompanied by sufficient and appropriate accountability measures.

Differentiation and individualisation in inclusive education: a systematic review and narrative synthesis

LINDNER, Katharina-Theresa
SCHWAB, Susanne
2020

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This study integrates research about differentiation and individualisation in inclusive education since the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2006 (United Nations, 2006). The concept of inclusive education for all learners increases the requirement for teachers to create educational spaces that encourage stimulating teaching and learning processes. Accordingly, a methodological shift from the traditional ‘one-size-fits-all’ model to individualised teaching and learning offers a starting point for educational equity. The aim of this paper is to investigate the progress of differentiated and individualised teaching practices in inclusive classroom settings considering collaboration and teamwork, instructional practices, organisational practices and social/emotional/behavioural practices (see Finkelstein, Sharma, & Furlonger, 2019. “The Inclusive Practices of Classroom Teachers: A Scoping Review and Thematic Analysis.” International Journal of Inclusive Education, 1–28). Results of a criteria-based review considering papers from 2008 to December 2018 encompass 17 articles that were included in the narrative synthesis. Results indicated that the following aspects are characteristic of inclusive education: collaboration and co-teaching, grouping, modification (of assessment, content, extent, instruction, learning environment, material, process, product and time frame), individual motivation and feedback, and personnel support of students. Implications of the findings and gaps in the research have been outlined.

Inclusion, access, and accessibility of educational resources in higher education institutions: exploring the Ethiopian context

BEYENE, Wondwossen Mulualem
MEKONNEN, Abraham Tulu
GIANNOUMIS, George Anthony
2020

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The right of persons with disabilities for equal access to education and educational resources is enshrined by international and country-specific anti-discrimination laws. Taking the Ethiopian context as an example, this paper sought to identify barriers of access to educational resources and explored ways for removing them. Seventeen students with visual impairments studying at Hawassa University were selected for semi-structured interviews. Moreover, five individuals working at the disability centre and the university library were interviewed. The results of the interviews were analysed thematically using the International Classification of Functioning, Disabilities and Health (ICF) as a framework. Access and accessibility problems that emanate from the learners’ diverse background, lack of educational resources in alternative formats, lack of institutional tools (policy, procedure, guidelines, etc.) to bridge the gap between law and practice, and the digital divide were among the problems identified and discussed. At the end, the paper showed how libraries, revitalised as learning and information commons, could help to ensure the accessibility of educational resources and help learners with disabilities to acquire skills that may help them in their studies and their future undertakings.

Global Leprosy Update 2019

WORLD HEALTH ORGANISATION (WHO)
September 2020

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A yearly update providing data from 160 countries around the world on the state of leprosy. The data will be useful to policy-makers, planners and researchers. 

The main leprosy indicators are now all based on a denominator of 1 million population. The key indicators are the case detection rate, the disability rate and the case detection rate in children.

The sub-title, “Time to step-up prevention initiatives” is the main focus of the Editorial comment on the last 3 pages, emphasizing the Triple Zero targets

 

Weekly Epidemiological Record  4 SEPTEMBER 2020, 95th YEAR No 36, 2020, 95, 417–440

 

Generating disability statistics: Models of disability measurement, history of disability statistics and the Washington Group Questions

Development Initiatives
September 2020

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This paper provides an overview of progress towards the creation of accurate and comparable disability statistics, the critical issues that impact on the measurement of disability, and discusses one of the most prominent international efforts to improve data on disabilities – the Washington Group on Disability Statistics.

How can we ensure the safety and wellbeing of children with disabilities during humanitarian crises? - Evidence brief

QURESHI, Onaiza
September 2020

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This brief reviewed evidence-based recommendations on how to ensure the safety and wellbeing of children with disabilities in humanitarian settings. The right to safety for all is enshrined in Article 11 of the CRPD, yet this population has been consistently neglected in the global literature around children affected by disaster and crises, and as such the recommendations made are limited to specific humanitarian settings (e.g., natural disasters, war and conflict) and towards children with physical and mobility challenges. There is a need to further explore their diverse needs and experiences by recognising them as independent actors who can meaningfully participate in and contribute to the development of services and policies targeted towards them

Pre-Primary and Primary Inclusive Education for Tanzania (PPPIET) – Foundation phase : Desk Review presented by the Task Team February 2020

JUDGE, Emma
August 2020

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The Disability Inclusive Development (DID) consortium is working together on the Pre-Primary and Primary Inclusive Education in Tanzania (PPPIET) programme whose ultimate goal is to foster quality sustainable inclusive education for all children with disabilities (CWD) at scale across Tanzania in mainstream pre-primary and primary government schools.  To achieve this, it aims to support collective, coordinated systems change by establishing an agreed common model of basic inclusive pre-primary and primary education in mainstream government schools, and galvanising significant progress in spreading its systematic implementation for all CWD across Tanzania over six years.

 

This task requires the cooperation of government, civil society and DPOs to achieve real change.  No single organisation or government department can achieve inclusive education on its own.  Cooperation between all government ministries, including education, health, finance and social welfare are key to providing individual support to learners with disabilities.  Pooling the skills and resources, and exchanging learnings to achieve quality inclusive education of children can help all involved.  Working together will build collective commitment and action, not just amongst DID consortium members but also across government, donors, education actors and the private sector. 

 

The first part in this process was for the Task Team to conduct a desk review to establish an overview of the current educational context with regards to children with disabilities, including legislative, policies and practice, inclusive education strategies, disability contexts, cultural perspective, interventions, existing assessment and quality assurance processes, and opportunities and challenges. 

Covid-19 Double Jeopardy for Persons with Disability

ADD International
August 2020

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SUMMARY

This report presents the findings from telephone interviews with 91 representatives from 15 Disabled People’s Organisation (DPO) partners in Bangladesh, to ask about the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on persons with disabilities in Bangladesh.

The report finds that, in the Covid-19 pandemic, some persons with disabilities experience double jeopardy—not only are persons with disabilities disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, but they are also disproportionately excluded from protection and survival support.

Persons with disabilities report being disproportionately excluded from Covid-19 support. 63% of respondents report not receiving the same protection and survival support as others. Two-thirds of those who described their personal experiences reported supply shortage or diversion of essential food and medical supplies as reasons for why they had been excluded.

Relief that has been provided has not met need. Many respondents (84%) report that survival support does not meet their basic needs. Support received has mostly been food instead of cash. Some (17%) report difficulty in following Covid-19 advice, mostly because they cannot afford protection materials.

Persons with multiple disabilities are being left further behind. Respondents with multiple functional difficulties experience more exclusion than respondents with one functional difficulty. This finding of disproportionate exclusion is statistically significant and consistent with qualitative responses, which show that most of those that did report challenges in following received advice were persons with multiple functional difficulties. This strongly suggests that persons with multiple functional difficulties experience more barriers. Persons with multiple functional difficulties who were excluded tended to report difficulties in communicating, remembering, self-care and walking.

The economic impact of the pandemic is acute for persons with disabilities. On average, respondents report losing 65% of their income since the Covid-19 crisis began, which in absolute terms, after adjusting for purchase power parity, is the equivalent of moving from £167 to £58 in monthly earnings.

Some respondents report that they are skipping meals and going hungry. Anecdotal reports reveal that families are reverting to one main meal every two days, or two main meals every three days. Many are borrowing and relying on family support to meet their daily needs to survive, and some of those who already depended on family support have had that support reduced or withdrawn. On balance, future plans reflect a sense of precarity due to uncertainty, ranging from feelings of hope with specific plans to powerlessness with no plans.

Government can do more. Many respondents said government should prioritise persons with disabilities and provide more relief. Many voiced concerns about how relief was being distributed or stolen, and that it is not reaching those most in need. The majority of respondents said that NGOs and wealthy people should play a role in support efforts.

How can we measure disability in research related to the COVID-19 response?

MACTAGGART, Islay
KUPER, Hannah
August 2020

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There is growing evidence that COVID-19 is disproportionally impacting the lives of people with disabilities. This includes evidence of the increased risk of severe outcomes of contracting COVID-19 amongst people with existing health conditions, including many people with disabilities. It also includes a wide range of other potential impacts such as: reductions or disruptions in non-COVID-19 health or rehabilitation services, the effects of shielding on isolation and mental health, the implications of social distancing on people who require carer support, and the impact on poverty, participation and wellbeing due to disrupted disability-inclusive development programmes.

 

Measurement of disability in research has historically been contested and a number of different tools exist. Clear guidance is needed on how to determine which tool to use to understand the situation of people with disabilities in different settings, and plan responsive and inclusive COVID-19 programmes and policies to support their needs. Good quality, comparable data on disability is essential for tracking the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as prevention and mitigation interventions, amongst people with disabilities. Such evidence is also imperative for tracking progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals, and UNCRPD compliance.

 

This evidence brief synthesises findings from a scoping review of ICF-compatible tools to measure disability in population-based surveys with a focus on LMICs (2018), protocols and research outputs from seven population-based surveys of disability across Asia, Africa and the Pacific, secondary analyses of the South African Census, US National Health Interview Survey and three Demographic and Health Surveys, reflections from global stakeholders in disability measurement (including the UN Flagship Report on Disability), and evidence compiled for the upcoming Global Disability Research Massive Open Online Course at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

Barriers experienced by people with disabilities participating in income-generating activities. A case of a sheltered workshop in Bloemfontein, South Africa

TINTA, Nokuthula
STEYN, Hester
VERMAAS, Jana
2020

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Background: People with disabilities often participate in income-generating activities (IGAs) in sheltered workshop in South Africa. However, they face many barriers that limit their ability to participate effectively in economic activities hosted by the workshops.

 

Objectives: To illustrate the barriers that limit the participation of people with disabilities in IGAs in a sheltered workshop.

 

Method: A qualitative exploratory single case study was conducted in a sheltered workshop. Eighteen participants, age 22 to 52 years with various disabilities were purposively sampled. Observations and semi-structured interview guides were used to generate data. Verbatim transcription was used after which content analysis was applied to identify ideas and concepts relating to barriers experienced by people with disabilities participating in IGAs.

 

Results: Some of the barriers participants experienced included institutional barriers (ability to use working tools, inability to concentrate for long periods, lack of funds, language barriers, lack of motivation, activities that are not stimulating and lack of artistry skills) and attitudinal barriers (exclusion from decision making) These barriers had an adverse influence on their performance in IGAs.

 

Conclusion: The study found eight different barriers that existed in a sheltered workshop which limited the participation of the people with disabilities that attended the workshop. This information can be used to develop strategies to address each barrier and promote increased participation of the individual thereby improving their quality of life.

 

 

African Journal of Disability, Vol 9, 2020 

Impact of lived experiences of people with disabilities in the built environment in South Africa

McKINNEY, Victor
AMOSUN, Seyi L.
August 2020

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Background: In spite of legislations and policies to ensure an inclusive society in South Africa for the accommodation of people with disabilities, there are reports that they still struggle to move freely within society.

 

Objectives: As part of a larger qualitative exploratory study on the preparation of undergraduate civil engineering students in a local university to contribute to the development of an inclusive society, this article seeks to understand the impact of the lived experiences of people with disabilities in their interaction with the built environment.

 

Method: Four persons with disabilities, considered to be knowledgeable about South African legislations relating to disability, were purposely selected to each share one specific experience whilst interacting with the built environment. The transcribed texts of the interviews were analysed by using the phenomenological–hermeneutic method.

 

Results: The participants exhibited strong desires to participate in society. However, the sense of loss of control and independence as they encountered challenges in the built environment changed the euphoria to disempowerment, rejection, anger and despondency. In spite of their experiences, participants expressed a commitment towards overcoming the challenges encountered in the broader interest of people with disabilities.

 

Conclusion: A deeper understanding of the impact of the experiences of people with disabilities when they participate within the built environment in South Africa revealed a broad spectrum of negative emotions, which may impact the quality of life and well-being of the participants.

 

 

African Journal of Disability, Vol 9, 2020

The life stories and experiences of the children admitted to the Institute for Imbecile Children from 1895 to 1913

Du PLESSIS, Rory
August 2020

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Background: South African scholarship on intellectual disability has produced a sizeable body of research, yet there are numerous areas where there is a paucity of research. One area in which there is a conspicuous paucity of research is historical studies of people with intellectual disability (PWID). The existing works devoted to the history of PWID in South Africa are primarily focused on the legal provisions and institutions for the protection and care of PWID. Missing from these works are the life stories and experiences of PWID.

 

Objectives: The article offers a study devoted to the life stories and experiences of the children with intellectual disability (CWID) who were admitted to the Institute for Imbecile Children from 1895 to 1913. The institute opened in April 1895 in Makhanda (formerly known as Grahamstown), South Africa. The institute was the first of its kind in the Cape Colony for CWID.

 

Method: The study presents a qualitative investigation of the life stories and experiences of the children that were recorded in the institute’s casebook. The entire set of 101 cases contained in the casebook was analysed by adopting a Gadamerian approach to hermeneutics.

 

Results: The examination of the institute’s casebook identified several broad themes relating to the children’s admittance, daily life at the institute and their routes out of the institute. The study also extols the individuality of each child’s life story to provide an awareness and richer appreciation of the humanness and personhood of the children.

 

Conclusion: The article contributes a positive narrative to the identity and the history of South African children with intellectual disability living in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

 

 

African Journal of Disability, Vol 9, 2020 

Pivoting to inclusion : Leveraging lessons from the COVID-19 crisis for learners with disabilities

McCLAIN-NHALPO,Charlotte Vuyiswa
KULBIR SINGH,Ruchi
MARTIN,Anna Hill
et al
August 2020

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As governments respond to the Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the global community must ensure that persons with disabilities are included. This will require disability inclusion to be considered in all interconnected sectors; education, health, social protection, and inclusion from the planning stage all the way through to delivery and recovery efforts that are inclusive of all and are sufficiently differentiated to meet the specific needs of children with disabilities. The issues paper focuses on the following objectives: (1) addressing education, social needs, barriers, and issues for learners with disabilities at a global, regional, and country-level during the COVID-19 crisis; and (2) recommending practices for education and social inclusion, and reasonable accommodations utilizing the twin track approach and principles of universal design for learning.

Disability, stigma & the role of innovation - Disability innovation live

AUSTIN, Vicki
CAREW, Matthew
MIRZOYANTS, Anastasia
BARBARESCHI, Giulia
August 2020

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This webinar focussed on the role of stigma in preventing disability inclusion, and what enables it to be overcome, focused on innovative and creative methods

The speakers talked about:

  • Culture, Paralympic legacy & how innovation can change mindsets
  • Stigma research incorporating the perspectives of persons with disabilities & disability inclusive research processes
  • Kenyan youth & the perception of people with disabilities
  • Assistive technology, identity & the role of innovation

How do legal and policy frameworks support employment of people with disabilities in Uganda? Findings from a qualitative policy analysis study

GRIFFITHS, Andrew
BECHANGE, Stevens
LORYMAN, Hannah
IGA, Chris
SCHMIDT, Eleanor
August 2020

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This policy analysis reviewed the current legislation and policies on the economic empowerment of people with disabilities in Uganda and explored the views of national stakeholders on the implementation of these policies in practice. The analysis was conducted through a document review and in‐depth stakeholder interviews. The study found that anti‐discrimination policies can only do so much for disability inclusive recruitment. Questions about policy implementation, stakeholder ownership, trust and efficiencies within the system and sufficient accountability mechanisms need addressing, if the existing framework is to be effective and positively impact the lives of people with disabilities in Uganda.
 

https://doi.org/10.1002/jid.3508


Journal of International Development J. Int. Dev. 32, 1360–1378 (2020J

The value of powered mobility scooters from the perspective of elderly spouses of the users – a qualitative study

FREDRIKSSON, Carin
PETTERSSON, Ingvor
HAGBERG, Lars
HERMANSSON, Liselotte
2020

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Purpose

To explore spouses’ experiences of the value of mobility scooters prescribed to their partner.

 

Material and Methods

A descriptive design with a qualitative approach was used. Thirteen spouses (11 females) aged 65–86 years participated. Semi-structured interviews were conducted when the spouse’s partner had had the mobility scooter for 4–6 months. The interviews were analysed using qualitative content analysis.

 

Results

The interviews showed primarily that the spouses experienced that their everyday lives and life situation had improved since their partner had received a mobility scooter. They reported that they could engage in activities of their own choice to a greater extent. The prescription of a mobility scooter to their partner had also yielded a sense of freedom related to shared activities. On the other hand, the spouses described some of the scooter’s limitations. Three categories emerged: a sense of freedom related to the spouse’s own activities, a sense of freedom related to shared activities and a somewhat restricted freedom.

 

Conclusion

Prescription of a powered mobility scooter was of value to the users’ spouses because it facilitated independent and shared activities and participation in the community. The value was mainly expressed as a sense of freedom when doing things on their own or together with their partner. Spouses are key persons in the rehabilitation of people with mobility restrictions. Their views on the assistive device may influence the rehabilitation process. Knowledge of spouses’ experiences is thus crucial, as this may influence the future rehabilitation outcome.

A person living with dementia learning to navigate an iPad: a case study

INGEBRAND, Elias
SAMUELSSON, Christina
HYDÉN, Lars-Christer
2020

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Purpose

This study challenges the notion that people living with dementia are unable to achieve novel learning without focussed intervention techniques. The purpose of this study is to explore how a woman living with dementia (Alzheimer’s disease) learns to use a tablet computer with support from communicative partners.

 

Method

The study is based on video recordings and the theoretical framework of learning as changing participation in joint activities. Quantitative and qualitative focus is on changes in the interactional organization over the course of six weeks in the activity of using an augmentative and alternative communication application.

 

Results

Over time, the participant living with dementia, relies less on the expertise and explicit instructions of her communicative partners when navigating the application, and more on the immediate feedback provided by the tablet computer.

 

Conclusions

The findings suggest that novel learning still is possible for people living with dementia, even without the implementation of focussed interventions. This study further emphasizes the procedural nature of learning for people living with dementia as the woman’s embodied actions were carried out in an increasingly more direct fashion.

Work capacity assessments and efforts to achieve a job match for claimants in a social security setting: an international inventory

SENGERS, Johan H
AMBA, Femke I
BROUWER, Sandra
STAHL, Christian
2020

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Purpose: Many high-income countries are witnessing a shift of focus on eligibility for disability benefits towards promotion of work reintegration. However, little is known about how countries assess work cap- acity, and how a job match is then obtained. The current study aims to compare work capacity assess- ments and available efforts to achieve a job match in eight high-income OECD countries.

 

Methods: A survey was conducted among key stakeholders concerning organization of work capacity assessments in social security settings, and efforts made to obtain a job, across eight OECD countries: Australia, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Sweden, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States. 

 

Results: In most countries, work capacity is assessed at several time points, with variations in moments and in information used for job matching. In countries obtaining information on personal and work levels, the search to find a job match usually begins with the persons who have disabilities.

 

Conclusion: Although a shift towards a holistic focus in work capacity assessment has been recognized, medical factors still prevail. Limited emphasis is placed on the implications of functional limitations for the possibilities of work. A holistic approach to assessment needs to be coupled with holistic support measures through provision of coordinated and high quality job matching services.

Rehabilitation: mobility, exercise & sports; a critical position stand on current and future research perspectives

VAN DER WOUDE, Lucas H V
HOUDIJK, Han J P
JANSSEN, Thomas W J
SEVES, Bregje
SCHELHAAS, Reslin
2020

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Background: Human movement, rehabilitation, and allied sciences have embraced their ambitions within the cycle of “RehabMove” congresses over the past 30 years. This combination of disciplines and collabo- rations in the Netherlands has tried to provide answers to questions in the fields of rehabilitation and adapted sports, while simultaneously generating new questions and challenges. These research questions help us to further deepen our understanding of (impaired) human movement and functioning, with and without supportive technologies, and stress the importance of continued multidisciplinary (inter)national collaboration.

 

Methods: This position stand provides answers that were conceived by the authors in a creative process underlining the preparation of the 6th RehabMove Congress.

 

Results: The take-home message of the RehabMove2018 Congress is a plea for continued multidisciplin- ary research in the fields of rehabilitation and adapted sports. This should be aimed at more individual- ized notions of human functioning, practice, and training, but also of performance, improved supportive technology, and appropriate “human and technology asset management” at both individual and organ- ization levels and over the lifespan.

 

Conclusions: With this, we anticipate to support the development of rehabilitation sciences and technol- ogy and to stimulate the use of rehabilitation notions in general health care. We also hope to help ensure a stronger embodiment of preventive and lifestyle medicine in rehabilitation practice. Indeed, general health care and rehabilitation practice require a healthy and active lifestyle management and research agenda in the context of primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention.

Segregated education as a challenge to inclusive processes: a total population study of Swedish teachers’ views on education for pupils with intellectual disability

GÖRANSSON, Kerstin
BENGTSSON, Karin
HANSSON, Susanne
KLANG, Nina
LINDQVIST, Gunilla
NILHOLM, Claes
2020

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Many pupils with disabilities receive schooling in segregated contexts, such as special classes or special schools. Furthermore, the percentage of pupils educated in segregated settings has increased in many European countries. Studies suggest that there is high commitment to the general ideology of inclusive education among teachers in ‘regular’ education in many countries. This survey study investigates the views of teachers in segregated types of school about education. A questionnaire was sent out, in 2016, to all Swedish teachers (N = 2871, response rate 57.7%) working full time in special classes for pupils with intellectual disability (ID). On a general level results show that there is a strong commitment to preserving a segregated school setting for pupils with ID, a limited desire to cooperate with colleagues from ‘regular schools’ and a view that schooling and teaching are not quite compatible with the idea of inclusive education. The results highlight the importance of investigating processes of resistance within segregated schools to the development of inclusive schools and education systems. We argue that, while research and debate about inclusive education are important, both are insufficient without analyses of existing types of segregated schooling.

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