04 SES 10 A, Stability of Social Participation – Linked with Social Behavior and School Drop-Out
While the positive impact of an inclusive learning environment on school achievement of students with and without disabilities was proved in several studies (Merz, 1982; Haeberlin et al., 1999; Myklebust, 2002; 2006; Tent et al., 1991), the current state of research regarding social integration is inconsistent and not so favorable. Compared with pupils without special education needs (SEN), pupils with SEN feel less integrated in class (Klicpera & Gasteiger-Klicpera, 2003; Pijl & Frostad, 2010). Although integrative settings provide positive experiences and friendships between disabled and non-disabled children (Cole, Vandercook, & Rynders, 1988), children with SEN averagely have fewer friends and are more often disliked in integration classes (f.e. Huber, 2008; Pijl & Frostad, 2010). The available evidence supports the assumption that children with SEN are less accepted and more often segregated than children without SEN. Nevertheless the aim of inclusion consists not only in placing all children within the same class but to ameliorate social participation of persons with and without disabilities (f.e. Haeberlin, Bless, Moser, & Klaghofer, 1999; Avramidis, 2010). Class placement alone cannot be seen as crucial to assure inclusive education. The submitted symposium therefore focuses on the social participation as well as on social behavior and teacher and peer support in mainstreaming secondary schools.
The first submitted presentation deals with the stability of social and emotional integration of 38 students with SEN and 112 students without SEN in inclusive settings in Austria and shows that students with SEN are less socially integrated and similar emotionally integrated compared to students with SEN. Social and emotional integration seems to be only moderate stable and the social competences as well as the victimization predict changes in the perception of integration. The second presentation describes a study with 140 students with SEN (i.e., students with ASD and students with motor and/or sensory disabilities) and 2000 typically developing classmates in mainstream 7th and 8th grade and analyses the stability of social participation. Results showed that students with ASD as well as girls with motor and/or sensory disabilities are in less favorable social situations. The third contribution analyzes school drop-out of students with special needs and the role of having friendships in this drop-out process among 933 students without and 74 students with special needs from Norway. The relations between staying motivated for school and teacher and peer support are explored. Especially for students with SEN results showed that they need teacher support to continue going to school. Finally the discussant will summarise the main results of all studies and discuss the importance of social inclusion and social relationships in learning environments. She will critically focus on important aspects of the presented studies for research and their implications for mainstream classes.
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