Experiencing educational inclusion: children with Williams syndrome in Ireland

Tynan, Fionnuala (2014) Experiencing educational inclusion: children with Williams syndrome in Ireland. EdD thesis, University of Lincoln.

Tynan (2014) Experiencing Educational Inclusion - Children with Williams Syndrome in Ireland - EdD Thesis (002).pdf
Tynan (2014) Experiencing Educational Inclusion - Children with Williams Syndrome in Ireland - EdD Thesis (002).pdf - Whole Document

Item Type:Thesis (EdD)
Item Status:Live Archive


This thesis explores the educational inclusion experiences of children with Williams syndrome (WS) in Irish primary schools from the perspectives of the children, their parents and teachers. Almost equal numbers of parents chose mainstream and special-education placements for their child with WS, although this choice was complex. Parents were very satisfied with their child’s education regardless of setting. Parental and teacher perceptions of the WS educational profile differed little. Teachers presented a slightly broader profile, yet showed less awareness than parents of anxiety in the children. Findings indicate a capacity in the children to learn Irish and other languages successfully, despite their entitlement to exemptions from language learning in the Irish educational system. Some features associated with WS (such as sociability) enhance the inclusion of learners with WS, while certain maladaptive behaviours impede it. Evidence suggests that maladaptive behaviours may be caused by high anxiety and poor expression of emotion due to poor comprehension of negative emotions. In addition, these children display more internalizing and self-regulatory behaviours, when parent and teacher data is compared, than has previously been noted in the literature, which may actually negatively impact on the child’s educational inclusion. Both parents and teachers support the children’s learning but teachers’ special education experiences and professional development influenced quality of supports and, hence, quality of educational inclusion. Some strategies used successfully by individual teachers to support learners with WS are those traditionally associated with autism, despite the sociability associated with WS. The children had clear images of themselves as learners and could identify personal learning strengths and challenges. Their liking for physical and social activities may be important aids to concentration, participation and, hence, inclusion.
Different interpretations of inclusion were evident from parents and teachers. A definition of inclusion was proposed to compare educational placements. Such a comparison showed that Irish mainstream placements should not necessarily be viewed as the most inclusive educational setting for learners with WS. Consequently, a framework, based on the individual education planning process, proposes a way to maximize the educational inclusion of children with WS, regardless of setting.

Keywords:Williams syndrome, inclusion, special education, inclusive learning, learner voice, individual education plan, Ireland, primary school
Subjects:X Education > X320 Academic studies in Primary Education
X Education > X360 Academic studies in Specialist Education
X Education > X300 Academic studies in Education
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Education
ID Code:26376
Deposited On:10 Feb 2017 18:14

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