Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE) 2022

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventConference/SymposiumAcademic


Attended as a participant. Linked to reflection.
Reflection and summary of Inclusive and Special Education SIG sessions
Multiple presenters examined the use of inclusive terminology with a general conclusion made that there has been a shift from collective to individual conceptualisations of inclusion. Meanings of inclusion have changed over time and with different agendas.

There continues to be conflict between the use of the terms ‘special’ and ‘inclusive’ education. Interesting discussions occurred after a number of presentations. Depending upon the composition of the audience (although there were a handful of 'regulars' who attended most) the interchangeable nature of the term didn't seem to worry most people as a number of us made the point that the way in which we used the term 'inclusion' was clear through articles, presentations and discussions we had. Although there were a number of die hards!

General consensus was that the debate should be focused on the needs of individual students. Some key points included: inclusive education is about disability (not all children); special education is part of inclusive education; associating inclusive education exclusively as the responsibility of special education staff is ill-advised; as is the positioning inclusive education as separate to the provision of ‘mainstream’ schooling. Full inclusion is positioned as the enemy of special education - possibly due to the links to funding. Economic rationalities have rearticulated the meanings and practices of inclusive education.

Early action could compensate or even prevent future complications or needs but is dependent on what universal provision is available in the particular context. Often the early part of early intervention is seen as prior to education, or the intervention part is located outside of education where the premise of 'at risk' is foundational to early intervention. Interestingly, international conventions position early intervention in health rather than in education with many early intervention programs integrated into early childhood development programs that combine health, social and educational services.

In summary, the field of inclusive education clearly has many dedicated and passionate educators, researchers and teachers but there are continual battles in the area due to limited support, visibility and funding.
Period27 Nov 202201 Dec 2022
Event typeConference
LocationAdelaide, Australia, South AustraliaShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational