The illusion of choice in inclusive education

Authors Maartje de Meulder , Joseph J. Murray
Published in International Journal of Inclusive Education
Publication date 20 August 2021
Research groups Speech and Language Therapy: Participation through communication
Type Article

Summary

The inclusive education debate is often framed as a choice between outmoded special schools and progressive inclusive general education schools. However, the rhetoric of ‘choice’ hides what is in reality a context of restricted resources, both in general education and in special congregated settings. We interview three deaf-parented families with a total of six deaf children enrolled in different educational settings in Belgium. We explore the educational choices parents made for their children and how these choices are influenced (1) by their own knowledge of and lived experience with the educational choices available and (2) actually existing resources. Our study shows a clear contrast between the capital parents bring to their children’s educational experiences and the choices available. Parents want to send their children to congregated settings to give them an education in sign language but are hindered from doing so because of the schools’ lack of adherence to educational standards. Instead they are pushed into a general education system that tasks their time and energy, as well as their child’s bodies. The paucity of options for these parents calls for a rethinking of the parameters of the inclusive education debate, moving beyond placement to a holistic focus on deaf children’s linguistic, educational, and social development.

Language English
Published in International Journal of Inclusive Education
Key words inclusive education, deaf, sign language
Digital Object Identifier https://doi.org/10.1080/13603116.2021.1956607

Speech and Language Therapy: Participation through communication