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Experiences of being the parent of a child with Down Syndrome in mainstream school
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
University of Oulu.
2022 (English)In: Education and involvement in precarious times: Abstract book, NERA Conference 2022 / [ed] Michael Dal, Reykjavík: University of Iceland , 2022, p. 417-418Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Background: Inclusive education is a key policy in many countries, and the keypremise is that every child has an equal right to attend mainstream schooling toobtain the support needed to reach their educational goals. It is academically andsocially beneficial to educate pupils with disabilities and their peers together. The aimof this study is to examine how parents to children with Down Syndrome (DS)understand their child ́s future education and schooling, how they experience theirown sense of belonging as a parent in a school context and their perception of theirchild’s sense of belonging. These are some of the questions that this study asks theparents’ perception of their child’s sense of belonging in school.

Method: Semi-structured interviews with both parents (n=10) of five children with DSin mainstream preschool classes were conducted to assess their experiences ofbelonging and explore how they understood their children’s sense of belonging. Theinterviews were conducted via telephone due to the pandemic [covid-19] and lastedbetween 33-77 minutes. The interviews were transcribed verbatim and categorized.The study was inspired by three theoretical levels of the politics of belonging: (1)social location, (2) identification and emotional attachment and (3) ethical andpolitical values, which were used in the analysis.

Result: When talking about belonging, some of the participants expressed a sense ofbelonging to other parents in their child’s preschool class. Even though the parentsbelonged to the same social location as the other parents of children in the preschoolclass, they did not automatically feel sense of belonging with them. The parents’overall perception was that their children felt a sense of belonging in their preschoolclass, this perspective was based on the combined feedback of the parents and theschool staff. The stories collectively depicted a sense of belonging where the childrenwere not able to express this themselves, due to the children’s difficulties ofcommunicating. Before their children started in preschool class, the parents wereworried about how things would go for them. Most participants were treated well by418the principal and school staff; however, some reported poor dealings with principalswho were sceptical of and had preconceived notions about their decision to placetheir child in a mainstream school instead of a special school.

Conclusion: It is important to support parents to obtain a thorough understanding oftheir child’s academic and social development so that they can make informeddecisions about their children’s future education, and not be influenced by schoolstaff to choose the future schools for pupils with DS merely based on their children’sdiagnosis. The aim of the study is to contribute to an understanding of how toimprove a sense of belonging in pupils with DS in preschool classes by focusing onthe parents’ perspectives.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Reykjavík: University of Iceland , 2022. p. 417-418
National Category
Pedagogy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-195936ISBN: 978-9935-468-22-2 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-195936DiVA, id: diva2:1665447
Conference
NERA 2022, Reykjavík, Iceland, June 1-3, 2022
Available from: 2022-06-07 Created: 2022-06-07 Last updated: 2022-06-13Bibliographically approved

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Westin, AnnaWickman, KimTakala, Marjatta

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
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More languages
Output format
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  • asciidoc
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