04 SES 13 B, Consulting Students with SEN; Challenges and Opportunities
Since the signing and ratification of the Salamanca Statement in 1994 (UNESCO, 1994) and the UNCRPD in 2006 (UNCRPD, 2006) inclusive education has been on de global research agenda. Despite the intention to provide inclusive and equitable education for all students, this has not been realized. Recently, research started to explore the perspectives and needs of students in the inclusive education settings. This is not only in response to the right of students to be heard and participate in research (UNCRPD, 2006; UNESCO 2015), but in acknowledgment of the value of the perspectives of students to bridge the gap between and towards realizing an inclusive education system that meets the needs of all students.
An important goal of inclusive education is that students with SEN are socially included. Yet, empirical research has consistently reported that students with special educational needs (SEN) in inclusive primary education settings are still at risk of social exclusion (e.g. Koster, Nakken, Pijl, & van Houten, 2009). Students with SEN are less socially accepted, resulting in fewer friendships (Avramidis, Avgeri, & Strogilos, 2018). Research has shown that there might be negative consequences when students with SEN are socially excluded, such as short and long term developmental problems (Rubin, Bukowski, & Laursen, 2011). It can be concluded that realizing the social inclusion of students with SEN in the general primary school is still a challenge.
The presentations in this symposium focus on how and if students with SEN in general and special education settings are consulted, regarding their perceive social inclusion in the inclusive educational setting and society. The perspectives of students with SEN are explored via a range of methodologies. By doing so, the right of students to be heard about topics that have an impact on their lives, such as the inclusive classroom and social inclusion is acknowledged (UNCRPD, 2006; UNESCO, 2015).
The first presentation investigates 21 ego-network analysis from elementary and secondary education students, across three schools in Southern California. This type of sociometric data is an innovative alternative of traditional sociometric data, that goes beyond the classroom level analysis, by including social relationships of students within and outside school. In addition, the perceived quality of the relationships are explored from the students’ own perspective. In the second part of the symposium the results of an interview study with twenty students with moderate learning difficulties in regular secondary education settings in Greece are presented. The interviewed students are all indicated as having a low to medium excluded social position in their inclusive classroom. In these interviews the students’ perceived understanding of peer acceptance and the quality of their best friendships are explored. The last presentation reports the results of a systematic literature review. The review addresses if and how the voices and participation of primary school students, with our without social-emotional problems or behavioural difficulties, in the development and evaluation of school-based interventions are included.
Following the three symposium presentations, there will be an open discussion with the audience about how the voices and participation of students, with or without SEN, in inclusive education and educational research can be realized.
Avramidis, E., Avgeri, G., & Strogilos, V. (2018). Social participation and friendship quality of students with special educational needs in regular Greek primary schools. European Journal of Special Needs Education, 1-14. doi:10.1080/08856257.2018.1424779 Koster, M., Nakken, H., Pijl, S. J., & van Houten, E. (2009). Being part of the peer group: A literature study focusing on the social dimension of inclusion in education. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 13(2), 117-140. Rubin, K. H., Bukowski, W. M., & Laursen, B. (2011). Handbook of peer interactions, relationships, and groups. Guilford Press. UNCRPD (The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities), (2006). Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Optional Protocol. New York: UNCRPD. UNESCO (The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation), (1994). The Salamanca statement and framework for action on special needs education. Paris: UNESCO. UNESCO (The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation), (2015). Incheon declaration and SDG4 - education 2030 framework for action. Incheon: UNESCO.
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