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Measuring the engagement of children with disabilities in early childhood settings: a guide for inclusive practice

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posted on 2022-03-28, 14:20 authored by Yuriko Kishida
Learning occurs as children engage with people, activities and materials. It is important, therefore, that practitioners working with children with disabilities in early childhood settings ensure that these children are engaged in the activities provided. While engagement data can be useful for both research and practice, no individual engagement measure was found that practitioners could easily use to program for the children with disabilities attending their early childhood centre-based settings. The main purpose of the research reported in this thesis was to develop a simple, reliable and valid measure of engagement that could be useful in early childhood practitioners' daily practice. The Individual Child Engagement Record (ICER), which was developed following an examination of the existing measures and a review of the research, was trialed using observations of children with disabilities in an inclusive childcare centre. The results supported the potential of the ICER for both research and practice. After the ICER was revised (ICER-R), and validated as an indicator of learning opportunity, practitioners were trained in its implementation in order to investigate the use of the measure in inclusive early childhood practice. Data gathered through the training process indicated the practical value of the ICER-R. -- Following an examination of the data for the one child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) included in the pilot study and a subsequent review of the literature relating to the engagement of young children with ASD, children with ASD who attended both segregated and inclusive early childhood settings were observed using the ICER-R to examine learning opportunities available in the two types of settings. Both the strengths and weaknesses of the two types of settings were identified. The implications of the findings for practice were discussed, including the use of ICER-R data to program for an increase in learning opportunities provided in early childhood centre-based settings.


Table of Contents

1. Introduction -- 2. Measuring child engagement in inclusive early childhood settings: implications for practice -- 3. A measure of engagement for children with intellectual disabilities in early childhood settings: a preliminary study -- 4. Measuring child engagement: implication for inclusive practice -- 5. Revision and validation of the individual child engagement record: a practitioner-friendly measure of learning opportunities for children with disabilities in early childhood settings -- 6. Training staff to measure the engagement of children with disabilities in inclusive childcare centers -- 7. Engagement of children with autism spectrum disorder in early childhood centre-based settings: an investigation of learning opportunities -- 8. The engagement and interaction of children with autism spectrum disorder in segregated and inclusive early childhood center-based settings -- 9. Conclusion.


Includes bibliographical references Thesis by publication.

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


Thesis (PhD) , Macquarie University, Macquarie University Special Education Centre, Australian Centre of Educational Studies

Department, Centre or School

Macquarie University Special Education Centre (MUSEC)

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Coral Kemp

Additional Supervisor 1

Mark Carter


Copyright disclaimer: Copyright Yuriko Kishida 2008. Complete version suppressed due to copyright restrictions. However, on receipt of a Document Supply Request, placed with Macquarie University Library by another library, we will consider supplying a copy of this thesis. For more information on Macquarie University’s Document Supply, please contact




1 online resource (vi, 348 p.) ill

Former Identifiers

mq:25448 1860255