The Policy of Inclusion and the Support of Primary School Children with Dyslexia: A Comparative Study of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Sweeney, Joan (2020) The Policy of Inclusion and the Support of Primary School Children with Dyslexia: A Comparative Study of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. PhD thesis, University of Lincoln.

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The Policy of Inclusion and the Support of Primary School Children with Dyslexia: A Comparative Study of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
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Abstract

All people are not born equally. The World Conference in Special Education which was held in Salamanca in 1994, sought to make inclusive education the norm. The aspiration is arguably noble. However, it would appear that defining the meaning of inclusive education poses difficulties. Over twenty five years have elapsed since the conference. This thesis reviews the support for primary children with dyslexia from the perspective of inclusion and offers the opportunity to explore the perception of teachers, parents and past pupils around inclusion and segregation. The literature review initially considers the theme of special education in five jurisdictions. The special education theme is then narrowed, focusing specifically on the area of dyslexia. Finally, the documentary evidence relating to the Republic of Ireland (ROI) Northern Ireland (NI) becomes the sole focal point where the policy of inclusion and the support of primary school children with dyslexia are carefully studied. The literature review provided the impetus for a comparative study using an online survey and a comparative case study involving participants from the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

The survey and the comparative case study employed in this research generated considerable data which was analysed qualitatively. In addition, the survey produced large amounts of statistics which were used as a means of triangulation. Eight thematic nodes from the survey expanded into an additional four thematic nodes from the comparative case study. The survey was conducted with 174 participating teachers and the comparative case study consisted of 21 semi structured interviews involving teachers, parents and past pupils. When the entire data was carefully analysed, twelve recommendations emerged. It would appear that the quality of teaching support for primary children in both the ROI and NI lacks a coordinated approach, where it is up to individual boards of management and boards of governors to organise and train school staff specifically in the area of special education.

Only 53.5 per cent of the participants in the survey had received any training in the support of children with dyslexia. The detection of children with dyslexia appeared haphazard with only 28 per cent of participants reporting that their school used dyslexia screening tests. The findings from the case study illustrate the contrast in support which is available to primary children with dyslexia. In the ROI, children with a diagnosis of severe dyslexia who meet the required criteria have the option of attending either one of four special schools or twenty special units for children with a specific disability including dyslexia. The policy of the department of education and skills in the ROI encourages primary schools not to withdraw children from their classrooms wherever possible which is in contrast to the existence of four schools and twenty units where children are removed from their mainstream peers for up to two years and in exceptional circumstances this can be extended up to three years. Withdrawing children was the norm in NI and the findings from this research suggest that perhaps children prefer to be withdrawn.

Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Education
ID Code:46282
Deposited On:31 Aug 2021 14:11

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