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The University of Southampton
Southampton Education School

Research project: Experiences of young children with learning disabilities attending both special and inclusive preschools (Nind) - Dormant - Dormant

Currently Active: 
No

September 2006 - August 2007

Current wide-ranging policy reforms and investment in the early years include moves to improve the availability, coordination and quality of provision, to promote parental choice, to intervene early in the lives of children with learning difficulties, to expand inclusive education and to respond to individual child needs by creating personalized education packages. One known outcome of this developing context is that many young children identified as having special educational needs now attend both inclusive and special early childhood settings to 'get the best of both worlds' (Nind, Flewitt & Johnston, 2005). But little is known about how the children cope with adapting to the different communicative practices and expectations in each setting.

This research built on an initial scoping study (funded by Mencap City Foundation), extending it to gain empirical data on the experiences of young children as they negotiated the different settings. The study explored how young children with learning disabilities coped with moving between the three different communicative and social environments of home, special early childhood setting and mainstream/inclusive early childhood setting. We gathered detailed, empirical evidence on how individual children respond to the different communicative environments, which will help in the evaluation of the local and national policy and practice of combining placements in special and inclusive early years settings. The in-depth knowledge of children's response to negotiating the three settings shows the different ways in which the children were conceptualised in the different settings and the multi-sensory, multimodal dynamism of children’s meaning-making.

Funding body: Rix Thompson Rothenburg Foundation

Related research groups

Centre for Research in Inclusion

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