Investigating the practical application of the social relational model of disability: examining early childhood educator's inclusive education
thesisposted on 29.03.2022, 02:42 by Katie Wright
The discussion over whether or not inclusion works is defunct, with research providing evidence that children directly benefit when strategic aspects of environments and intentional teaching are in place. Inclusive education is a human right, and there is growing promise of inclusive education, as explained in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD, 2006). However, barriers to the inclusion of children with disability in educational settings remain. Early childhood educators have a social responsibility to advocate for children’s inclusive education, yet many educators report uncertainty about how to include children with diverse abilities. The purpose of this study was to identify links between the theory of the social relational model of disability, and educational practice. Bronfenbrenner’s ecocultural theory was utilised to identify children within their different contexts. Educators and parents’ perspectives of identifying and challenging barriers to doing, and barriers to being, were investigated within three early childhood centres. Eight educators working in early childhood centres in Sydney completed online educator questionnaires, and thirty parents from these centres completed online parent questionnaires. One interview was conducted with a centre director. This sequential design included quantitative and qualitative investigation. Data analysis allowed for identification of barriers within different aspects of early childhood contexts including communication, environments, resources, and attitudes. Through the findings, links were identified between the theory of the social relational model of disability and educational practice, together with gaps in the educators and parent’s understandings of inclusion in these three centres. Findings from this study have implications for early childhood centre contexts, policy development of inclusive education, and for educator’s inclusive practice.