Date of Submission
The experiences of students with special needs attending regular schools, their involvement and achievement within their school setting, and the theoretical underpinnings directing and determining what is best practice and delivery of effective education, have been an area of on-going change and development over the last 30 years. Teaching and learning processes involved in the effective pedagogical practice of special education have been consistently evolving, providing schools with developing options to enhance effective education practice for all students regardless of any academic, social and/or physical differences and subsequent needs. This study researches the experiences of students defined as having an intellectual disability who attend 'Aprender', a special program catering to the students' special needs within the framework of a regular school setting. These students are eligible to attend a special school due to their individual circumstances, yet they have chosen to attend a regular Catholic school. The study examines the experiences of the students as they participate in the program, by documenting their voice through their school journeys within the social, locational and academic inclusive participation as members of their school community. The research consisted of a longitudinal case study and methods used included interviews, observations, field notes and surveys. The study findings identify the value of relationships as a key element determining the success of inclusive practice within the Aprender program, in particular the peer relations that existed between the participants, their teachers and other students. The study also identified the theme of development, with strong emphasis placed on the examination of academic, social and emotional growth within the experiences of the students.;The study illustrates the difficulties that the students with special needs encounter in their educational setting, in particular the social and academic challenges that affects their inclusion. These experiences contributed to determining the success of the approaches structured to support the students' inclusion in the program. The study found that the program was largely successful in its aims to include SWSN in a regular school setting, though some aspects of a holistic inclusion were less successful, and offers recommendations for further improvement.
Doctor of Education (EdD)
Faculty of Education
Rodezno, N. (2008). Practising inclusion within the regular school setting: students with special needs and their Aprender experience (Doctoral thesis, Australian Catholic University). Retrieved from http://researchbank.acu.edu.au/theses/254