International Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Incl Education - Documents and Publications

Inclusive Education By Laws

Inclusive Education SIRG By Laws 2016.docx

SIRG Planning & Reporting Document 2017

Minutes of Meetings

Inclusive Education SIRG Minutes Meeting 18th August 2016.docx

Inclusive Education SIRG Minutes meeting 15th November 2017

Short Articles on Inclusive Education in Different Countries


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In Australia, educational programs for students with disability are offered across a continuum that includes special schools, units of several classes in regular schools and fully inclusive classrooms that comprise students with and without an identified disability. The underlying principle that guides this range of options is family choice: in other words, what do those who know the child best believe to be the best setting for their child? Although there are several points that can be made about our situation in Australia with respect to inclusive practices, many shared with other countries, three specific achievements need to be mentioned. First, the Nationally Consistent Collection of Data about Students with a Disability (NCCD), a pioneering attempt to examine the adjustments and levels of support that schools and teachers make for the students in their classrooms. Given that historically Australia has had a state and territory based schooling system approach, with various sectors in each jurisdiction, this national progress is highly significant. A second initiative that is promising is the almost universal inclusion of a mandatory semester long course in special and inclusive education in university undergraduate teacher education programs. Finally, the advent of Australian National Curriculum has encouraged thinking and action around the challenges to individualise and recognise the most appropriate learning outcomes for all students, including individuals with complex needs.

As to challenges, well we have many, best viewed as works in progress! Perhaps the most pressing is the lack of National Standards in special and inclusive education. This is accompanied by a relative dearth of outcome data. Although one can argue that the general standards in Australia are best and necessarily applied to all students, the nuance of differentiated practices and individualised programming needs more attention in our systems and processes. A related challenge involves teacher education and development and more particularly the importance of some form of integrated articulation pathways for special and inclusive educators. Finally, although leading edge projects like Positive Partnerships have emphasised educational partnering with families, everyday practice in schools and sectors will always benefit from increased unity and roundtable approaches to best supporting each and every individual student in their life contexts. Valuing family voices, then, is a high and continuing priority. In sum then, we have much happening and much to do, just like our colleagues in other countries. Our work is a dynamic and evolving privilege.


Foreman, P., & Arthur-Kelly, M. (Eds.), (2017). Inclusion in action (5th edn). Melbourne: Cengage.


In Austria in 1993 integrated schooling in primary schools was established in the 15th School Organisation Act Amendment (15. SchOG-Novelle) which gave parents the formal freedom to send their children to a mainstream or a special school. In the meantime, several pilot projects for ‚integrated schooling’ in the lower secondary level (Sekundarstufe I) had been initiated already. In 1996, the 17th School Organisation Act Amendment (17. SchOG-Novelle) was adopted, setting out the legal basis for integrated schooling in the lower secondary level (until 8th grade) and enabling school boards to permit individual variations from the curriculum (Buchner & Gebhardt 2011). Over the last years, discourses around inclusive education have been become more intense, fueled by the CRPD. Thus, the Austrian Ministry of Education emphasized the development of inclusive schools in several policy papers (e.g. BMBF 2015a +b). However, the implementation of the national laws and policies varies significantly across the nine federal states of Austria. The mentioned Austrian Education Acts enabled willing school boards and teachers to provide inclusive education. The federal structure of the Austrian education system allowed the federal states to develop different policies on the implementation of inclusive education. Over the years, these spaces for implementation led to way different efforts in different federal states, as the variety of ‘integration rates’ (= percentage of students labeled as having SEN being educated in mainstream schools) shows. For example, in the school term 2013/2014, the ‘integration rate’ for the whole of Austria was 60%, while the one of the federal state of Tyrol was only 42% and the one of Styria 80% (Bruneforth et al. 2016, 95). However, the presence of students diagnosed as having SEN does not tell much about the quality of educational practices. Recent research has shown, that students with SEN face a higher risk to become marginalized in mainstream settings than their peers (Schwab & Gebhardt, 2016). Thus, ensuring ‘social participation’ of all students can be considered as one the main tasks for Austrian schools in the next years. (Parts of this text have been taken from Smyth et al. 2014)


“In Canada, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Part I of the Constitution Act (1982 Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Part I of the Constitution Act. 1982. Being Schedule B to the Canada Act 1982 (UK), 1982, c.11 {Charter}. ) provides a statement of rights for people with disabilities not to be excluded:

every Canadian is equal before and under the law and has the right to equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, color, religion, sex, age, or physical disability. (Section 14[1])

Though this Charter is federal legislation, the responsibility for the development and enactment of education policy lies with the provincial and territorial governments; thus, there is a range of inclusive education policy. There is considerable diversity in geography, history, language, and culture across Canada. Geographically, Canada is the second largest country in the world encompassing almost 10 million square kilometres. The estimated total population is 35,141,500 (Statistics Canada, 2013) which is spread unevenly over 10 provinces and 3 territories. Total populations in the provinces range from 145,800 in Prince Edward Island to 13,585,700 in Ontario and the territorial populations range from 34,000 in Nunavut to 43,300 in the Northwest Territories (Statistics Canada, 2013). It is estimated that 80% of the Canadian population lives in urban centres and 45% live in just six metropolitan areas (Council of Ministers of Education in Canada, 2013).

Data from the Statistics Canada 2006 Census (Statistics Canada, 2013) indicated that 1,172,790 people (3.75% of the total population) identified themselves as Aboriginal (First nations, Métis or Inuit). The largest number of Aboriginal people lives in Ontario and the western provinces. However, the percentage of the population varies: for example, Aboriginal people make up 2% of the population in Ontario, 15% in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, 50% in the Northwest Territories, and 85% in Nunavut. Canada is also a bilingual country with French and English as the two official languages. Approximately, 85% of French-speaking Canadians live in Quebec (CMEC 2013). Canada's cultural diversity continues to grow and recent statistics indicate that international migration accounted for 73.3% of growth in the first quarter of 2013 (Statistics Canada).

The majority of Canadian jurisdictions provide some legislative or policy direction requiring inclusion of students with exceptional learning needs within general or ‘regular' education. In addition, there has been increased government support for implementation within some jurisdictions. For example, the Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Education began a four-year implementation of an Inclusive Schools Initiative in the 2009–2010 school year (Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Education, 2012) and the Government of New Brunswick announced a commitment of over $62 million over three years to improve inclusion and intervention services (Government of New Brunswick, 2012)”.

From: Thompson, S. Anthony, Lyons, Wanda & Timmons, Vianne (2014): Inclusive education policy: What the leadership of Canadian teacher associations has to say about it, International Journal of Inclusive Education (pp.122-123).


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In 1977 Law 517 prohibited in Italy the discrimination towards students with disabilities of any type and severity in attending primary school (Article 2) or intermediate school (Article 7). Besides stating principles of participation and collectiveness, Law 517 abolished special classes and established “forms of supports in primary and intermediate schools”. It also forced all schools to provide psycho-educational activities to all persons with disabilities, based on their level of severity and to schedule attendance of regular classes in regular schools if they were of school age. School was finally considered truly open to everyone due to the diversity of the students attending it and because of the role of control and participation parents of children with disabilities were recognized. The Law also required that a support teacher be assigned to a classroom if it included a child with a disability. This support teacher was meant to help facilitate inclusion and to increase educational opportunities for all students.

In agreement with the declarative documents produced in Europe, and with issues raised by Law 517, Law 104 in 1994 extends the rights of persons with disabilities and defines the duties that institutions have toward them. It traces the intervention guidelines for public institutions and private associations, and provides general principles for school and work inclusion as well as parameters for supported employment. Law 104 also emphasizes the removal of barriers in architecture and transports, tax concessions, and the right to vote and to live in a chosen home. Article 2 of the same law underlines “the relevance of prevention (information and education about health; search for and removal from living and work environments all risk factors for genetic malformation and disabling diseases) and of continuing prevention activities which safeguard children from birth. A year later, in 1995, with Article 13 of the Ministerial Decree number 80, the Individual Educational Plan (Piano Educativo Individualizzato) was introduced.

At the end of the 1990s, approximately 98% of Italian students with disabilities were attending classes in regular schools as their primary placement. However, the problem of allowing children with impairments to widely “experience” classroom life and to participate to all activities effectively still exists. Several activities are, in fact, realized outside of the class, and are constructed around contents and targets that have little to do with school curriculum. There are still many issues to be solved because of inaction and inefficiencies at both the administrative and organizational levels. In high school, for instance, inclusion is still limited and is characterized by a rate of inclusion ranging from 0.4 in lyceums to 9.8 % in vocational schools, although this differs widely from school to school (Giangreco et al., 2012). There is now wide agreement on the need to anchor the choice, the differentiation and credit toward interventions in favour of persons with disabilities to “personalized” criteria; to carry out personalized actions measuring their effectiveness in satisfying personal needs and wishes.

As far as higher inclusive education, each department of the university has appointed a contact person for inclusion and disability, a reference person as a benchmark for issues related to inclusion, disability and difficulties in learning. Referents are engaged in giving life to personalized exchanges with students and colleagues to encourage participation in university life and the right to study, stimulating students ' ability to manage these processes with self-determination and teachers attention to an inclusive didactics. They are active in promoting ways of raising awareness and involving the members of the departments in relation to inclusion. Each university, with specificities has university center for disability which offers psychological counseling for free to students and employees with disabilities, with specific learning difficulties and other vulnerabilities.

Adapted from: Sgaramella T.M., Nota L., Ferrari L., Soresi S., Aamir Khan (2017). The Italian path to school and social inclusion: Problems, strengths and perspectives. In R. Hanes, I. Brown, and N. Hansen (Eds.), International Histories of disability. (pp.339-355) Routledge, UK


Sgaramella T.M., Nota L., Ferrari L., Soresi S., Aamir Khan (2017). The Italian path to school and social inclusion: Problems, strengths and perspectives. In R. Hanes, I. Brown, and N. Hansen (Eds.), International Histories of Disability. (pp.339-355) Routledge, UK

Soresi, S., Nota, L., Ferrari, L., Sgaramella T.M., Ginevra, M.C., Santilli, S. (2013). Inclusion in Italy: From numbers to ideas... that is from “special” visions to the promotion of inclusion for all persons. Life Span and Disability, XVI, 2 (2013), 187-217 ISSN 2035-5963.

Publications and Articles

Corby D;Taggart L;Cousins W; (2018) 'The lived experience of people with intellectual disabilities in post-secondary or higher education'. Journal of Intellectual Disabilities, https://doi.org/10.1177/1744629518805603

Buchner, T. (2015): Mediating Ableism: Border work and resistance in the biographical narratives of young disabled people. In: Zeitschrift für Inklusion online 02/2015, http://www.inklusion-online.net/index.php/inklusion-online/article/view/272/255

Buchner, T., Smyth, F., Biewer, G., Shevlin, M., Ferreira, M., Toboso-Martín, M., Rodriguez Diaz, S., Latimier, C., Šiška, J. & Kánová S., 2015): Paving the way through mainstream education: the interplay of families, schools and disabled students. Research Papers in Education, 30(4), 433-445

Biewer, G., Buchner, T., Shevlin, M., Smyth, F., Šiška, J., Kánová S., Ferreira, M., Toboso-Martín, M. & Rodriguez Diaz, S. (2015): Pathways to inclusion in European higher education systems. In: Alter - European Journal of Disability Research/Revue Européenne de Recherche sur le Handicap. 9(4), 278-289

Drexler, C. & Buchner, T. (2017): Inklusive Schule braucht inklusive (Fort)Bildung – ein Brückenschlag. In: Erziehung und Unterricht 167(3-4), 302-310

Lyons, Wanda E., Thompson, S. Anthony & Timmons, Vianne (2016) ‘We are inclusive. We are a team. Let's just do it’: Commitment, collective efficacy, and agency in four inclusive schools. International Journal of Inclusive Education 20 (8), pp. 889-907. Retrieved from: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13603116.2015.1122841

Rillotta, F., Arthur, J.K., Hutchinson, C. and Raghavendra, P. (2018). Inclusive university experience in Australia: Perspectives of students with intellectual disability and their mentors. Journal of Intellectual Disabilities, doi: 10.1177/1744629518769421

Smyth, F., Shevlin, M., Buchner, T., Biewer, G., Flynn, P., Latimier, C., Šiška, J., Kánová S., Ferreira, M., Toboso-Martín, M. & Rodriguez Diaz, S. (2014): Inclusive education in progress: policy evolution in four European countries. European Journal of Special Needs Education, 29(4), 433-445

Thompson, S. Anthony and Timmons, Vianne (2017).From Inclusive Education to Inclusive Employment? Chronicling Inclusive Pathways for Persons with Disabilities. Japanese Journal of Rehabilitation 171, pp. 8-15.

Thompson, S. A., & Timmons, V. (2017). Authentic Inclusion in Two Secondary Schools:" It's the Full Meal Deal. It's Not Just in the Class. It's Everywhere." Exceptionality Education International, 27(1). Retrieved from: http://ir.lib.uwo.ca/eei/vol27/iss1/4/

Timmons, Vianne & Thompson, S. Anthony (2017). Voices of Inclusion. Published by The University of Regina. Retrieved from: http://ourspace.uregina.ca/handle/10294/7770

Thompson, S. Anthony, Lyons, Wanda & Timmons, Vianne (2014): Inclusive education policy: What the leadership of Canadian teacher associations has to say about it, International Journal of Inclusive Education, Retrieved from: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13603116.2014.908964

Thompson, S. Anthony (2013). Thrice disabling disability: enabling inclusive, socially just teacher education. International Journal of Inclusive Education 16 (1), pp. 99-117 Retrieved from: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13603111003671640