25 SES 01 A, Children's participation and teachers' perceptions and practices
The fight to secure the protection of the rights of people with disabilities concerns the whole society (Gaspar, 2005). People with disabilities, in particular children with SEN have the right to participate in decision-making on matters that concern them as well as the right to actively participate in their communities under articles 12 and 23 of Convention of the Rights of the Child (UNCRC, 1989). Participation is probably the main force of political thought concerning disability in recent decades. This fact is demonstrated in some of the UN (2006) articles of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Thus, Article 19 advocates the right to live independently and to be included in the community, establishing in its section "C": Community facilities and services for the general population must be available, under equal conditions, to people with disability and take into account their needs. Likewise, Article 29 advocates the right to participation in political and public life of people with disabilities, establishing in its section "B": States should actively promote an environment in which people with disability can participate fully and effectively in the management of the public affairs, without discrimination and under equal conditions with others.
Due to the promulgation of the Decalogue of the Rights of People with Disabilities, researchers have demonstrated a great interest in knowing if the rights related to the participation are being fulfilled (Madariaga, Tonini y Marques, 2018; Pallisera and Rius, 2007; Tsai, Graves, Chan, Darkoh, Lee and Pompeii, 2017). Despite the significant research advances in this field, it’s still necessary to examine the level and types of participation in the community by children with disabilities and SEN as a way to better understand the structures that either facilitate or prevent them to exercise their rights.
Previous research has already established the importance of looking at participation in the community by children with disabilities but also identified some of the challenges they face. For example, in their study findings, Anaut, Arza and Álvarez (2017) affirm that people with disabilities and their families maintain significant levels of social exclusion in areas such as education, health, social participation, etc. This situation shows that social exclusion does not depend on income or employment, but there are other factors that have a direct influence. Similarly, Carroll, Witten, Calder-Dawe, Smith, Kearns, Asiasiga et al. (2018) affirm that participation in community life is very important for the development of health, well-being and quality of life of people with disabilities. Furthermore, they affirm that young people with disabilities have fewer opportunities than their peers for mobility and participation in recreational activities. The present paper, builds upon this previous research and examines the lived experiences of participation in the community by children with disabilities and SEN in Ireland, a country that has extensive provisions and structures for both children’s rights and SEN. There is limited Irish research (Fauconnier, Dickinson, Beckung, Marcelli, McManus, Michelsen, et al., 2009; McManus, Corcoran & Perry, 2008) on the participation of children and young people with disabilities in their neighbourhood and communities. Although directly relevant to our study, previous research has been limited to children and adolescents with cerebral palsy and the analysis of their participation in life situations does not incorporate a children’s rights approach.
The aim of the paper is to examine the lived experiences of participation by children with disabilities and SEN as reported by their parents to identify structural barriers, process of inclusion and exclusion as well as process of social disadvantage that prevent children with disabilities and SEN the capacity to fully exercise their right to active participation in the community.
Participants: The participants of this study are parents of children with disabilities and special educational needs belonging to support groups in the Republic of Ireland. Research design: This research follows a quantitative, non-experimental and descriptive design. Collection instruments: To collect information a digital questionnaire has been used. This questionnaire has been adapted to the digital format from the instrument validated by Bedell (2009). It focuses on participation in the neighborhood and community (4 items) as well as community living activities (1 item). The assessment of the different items of this questionnaire is scored according to the following scale: 1= Not applicable; 2= Unable; 3= Very Limited; 4= Somewhat limited; 5= Full participation. Analysis of data: The data obtained will be analyzed using descriptive statistics (means and frequencies). Also, we will use normality tests to determine the distribution of the sample (normal or non-normal). After determining the sample distribution, parametric or non-parametric inferential tests (Student's T or Mann-Whitney U) will be applied. These will be used to check for statistically significant differences between parental ratings.
The expected outcomes of this study will identify some of the structural barriers for active participation in the community by children with disabilities and special educational needs. These barriers have an impact in key practices for the exercise of their rights, including mobility, communication and decision-making. The findings of the study show the current levels of children’s participation in different aspects in the community life in Ireland, from their involvement in plans to go out, or their lived experiences in relation to play or being part in social and leisure activities in their communities, or the possibilities they have had to take part in social events or groups, as well as the constraints or possibilities for mobility within the community itself. By identifying the main barriers, the findings of the study will show some of the processes of inclusion or exclusion that children with disabilities or special educational needs face in Ireland when exercising, or attempting to exercise, their right to active participation in the community.
Anaut, S. & Arza, J. (2017). La exclusión social, una problemática estructural entre las personas con discapacidad. Revista Internacional de Ciencias Sociales, 36, 167-131. Bedell, G. (2009). Further validation of the Child and Adolescent Scale of Participation (CASP). Developmental neurorehabilitation, 12(5), 342-351. Carroll, P., Witten, K., Calder-Dawe, O., Smith, M., Kearns, R., Asiasiga, L.… & Mavoa, S. (2018). Enabling participation for disabled young people: study protocol. BMC Public Health, 18(1), 1-11. Fauconnier, J., Dickinson, H. O., Beckung, E., Marcelli, M., McManus, V., Michelsen, S. I., ... & Colver, A. (2009). Participation in life situations of 8-12 year old children with cerebral palsy: cross sectional European study. Bmj, 338, 1-12. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.b1458 Gaspar, J. E. (2005). Participación social y personas con discapacidad psíquica. RES: Revista de Educación Social, 3, 1-9. McManus, V., Corcoran, P., & Perry, I. J. (2008). Participation in everyday activities and quality of life in pre-teenage children living with cerebral palsy in South West Ireland. BMC Pediatrics, 8(1), 1-10. Madariaga, A., Tonini, H. & Marques, M. J. (2018). Ocio para personas con discapacidad: la perspectiva legal de Brasil y España [Leisure for people with disabilities: the legal perspective of Brazil and Spain]. Revista Interdisciplinar de Direitos Humannos, 6(1), 117-136. ONU. (1989). Convention on the Rights of the Child. United Nations, General Assembly. ONU (2007).Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. United Nations, General Assembly. Pallisera M. & Rius, M. (2007). ¿Y después del trabajo, qué?: más allá de la integración laboral de las personas con discapacidad [And after work, what?: Beyond the labor integration of people with disabilities]. Revista de Educación, 342, 329-348. Tsai, I.H., Graves, D.E., Chan, W., Darkoh, C., Lee, M.S., & Pompeii, L.A. (2017). Environmental barriers and social participation in individuals with spinal cord injury. Rehabilitation Psychology, 62(1), 36–44, https://doi.org/10.1037/rep0000117
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