Young Elementary Students Perceptions on Disability and Difference
Haase, Cambri Valene
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Inclusion, the opportunity for all students to be educated together, is becoming the norm in many schools. As students are being placed in inclusive classroom, they are developing ideas around difference and disability. But what exactly are these students learning from this experience? This thesis examines my class of Grade 1 and 2 students’ perspectives on disability and difference. Through interviews with the students, observations and my own self-reflections two key themes emerged. Firstly, the students were unlikely to notice a difference of autism and just see a friend. Secondly, the students’ understanding of difference was derived from their own personal experience. It was also determined that effective inclusive practices are lead by teachers and educational assistants. The environment that teacher and assistants create can influence the academic and social success for all students. This environment may then also aid in all students understanding of disability and difference.