Original Research

The experiences of children with intellectual and developmental disabilities in inclusive schools in Accra, Ghana

Christiana Okyere, Heather M. Aldersey, Rosemary Lysaght
African Journal of Disability | Vol 8 | a542 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ajod.v8i0.542 | © 2019 Christiana Okyere, Heather M. Aldersey, Rosemary Lysaght | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 10 June 2018 | Published: 24 July 2019

About the author(s)

Christiana Okyere, School of Rehabilitation Therapy, Queen’s University, Kingston, Canada
Heather M. Aldersey, School of Rehabilitation Therapy, Queen’s University, Kingston, Canada
Rosemary Lysaght, School of Rehabilitation Therapy, Queen’s University, Kingston, Canada


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Abstract

Background: Inclusive education is internationally recognised as the best strategy for providing equitable quality education to all children. However, because of the unique challenges they often present, children with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDDs) are often excluded from inclusive schools. To date, limited research on inclusion has been conducted involving children with IDD as active participants.

Objectives: The study sought to understand the experiences of children with IDDs in learning in inclusive schools in Accra, Ghana.

Method: A qualitative descriptive design was utilised with 16 children with IDDs enrolled in inclusive schools in Accra, Ghana. Participants were recruited through purposive sampling and data were collected using classroom observations, the draw-and-write technique and semi-structured interviews. The data were analysed to identify themes as they emerged.

Results: Children’s experiences in inclusive schools were identified along three major themes: (1) individual characteristics, (2) immediate environments and (3) interactional patterns. Insights from children’s experiences reveal that they faced challenges including corporal punishment for slow performance, victimisation and low family support relating to their learning.

Conclusion: Although children with IDDs receive peer support in inclusion, they experience diverse challenges including peer victimisation, corporal punishment and low family and teacher support in their learning. Improvement in inclusive best practices for children with IDD requires systematic efforts by diverse stakeholders to address identified challenges.


Keywords

children with intellectual disability; children with developmental disability; children’s experiences; inclusive education; inclusion

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