Inclusive education and intellectual disability: a systematic review of parent perspectives

Jordan Shurr, Alexandra Minuk, Daniel Östlund, Mona Holmqvist, Nehal Ghaith, Brenda Reed

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


Inclusive education has been a topic of intense interest and some debate of late. While the concept of inclusive education has been somewhat settled for students with high incidence disabilities, the debate continues for those with more significant support needs (Norwich, 2008). And, for this population, the focus of inclusive efforts has transformed over recent history. While it appears that there is a clear trajectory of inclusive education history thus far, this is not necessarily reflective in current policy and practice, nor in public discourse. While there are similarities among these definitions and the many others published, differences exist regarding the focus on either specific elements of access or the broader principles or attitudes meant to guide the educational experience. In addition to conflicts in the research literature and differences among authoritative definitions, it is clear that perception of inclusion is often not based on a shared understanding of what is and what is not inclusion—specifically in the context of education for students with intellectual disability. The discussion in some way reflects the tension between the pragmatic or contextual versus the related philosophical elements. It appears that differences in opinion, in the case of inclusive education for students with significant support needs, could be attributed to a lack of clarity or shared understanding of the term. This topic is the central focus of this presentation with a specific lens on the parent perspective and intellectual disability.

Parent involvement in education is closely linked to student performance. Depth of understanding this perspective can lead to benefits in practice as schools can more effectively partner and with families, and with research, as scholars can build toward more coherent understanding and further exploration of related issues related. In working to understand the perspectives of individuals or groups on concepts as complex and nuanced as inclusion, it can be helpful to capture the current and previous research while highlight the similar and contrasting features with a global reach. Cross-national comparative can highlight the broad spectrum of ideas and variables related to a concept of interest (Crossley & Watson, 2003). Such comparison of data can help reveal similarities across contexts as well as data that may be more accurately understand in a particular national context.


Conference22nd International Conference on Autism, Intellectual Disability & Developmental Disabilities, 20/1-23/1, 2021, Clearwater beach, FL, USA & ZOOM
Period80-04-10 → …

Swedish Standard Keywords

  • Pedagogical Work (50304)


  • inclusive education
  • intellectual disability
  • parents
  • systematic review


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