Inclusive Education for Children with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities in Accra, Ghana
Inclusive education is the best form of education for all children including those with disabilities, however, children with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) are often educated in segregated settings or institutionalized in low-and-middle-income countries (LMICs). Inclusion research in Ghana has rarely focused on children with IDD, and those that have were limited to examining teacher attitudes and beliefs. Therefore, the overall purpose of this dissertation was to examine the experiences of implementation of inclusive education from the perspectives of children with IDD and their teachers in Accra, Ghana. I conducted three studies as part of this dissertation; a) a scoping review that explored the scope of current literature on inclusive education implementation with children with IDD in African countries, b) a qualitative descriptive study that explored the experiences of children with IDD in inclusive schools in Accra, Ghana and c) a qualitative descriptive study that explored the experiences of teachers of children with IDD in inclusive schools in Accra, Ghana. I gathered data from 16 children and 18 teachers through in-depth interviews. I supplemented children interviews with drawing and observation. I analyzed the data using Braun and Clarke’s (2006) thematic analysis approach. I employed Bronfenbrenner’s bioecological framework and the social model of disability as theoretical perspectives to examine and interpret emerging findings. The results indicate that although children with IDD benefit from opportunities in inclusion, they experience many challenges. The results also suggest an overall stressful classroom environment that makes it challenging for teachers to respond to the additional needs of children with IDD. Findings demonstrate the critical need for improvement of inclusion best practices with children with IDD. The ongoing challenges experienced by children with IDD and their teachers in inclusion suggest that the success of inclusive practices in Ghana is dependent on strong commitments of all stakeholders and a model of specific and appropriate strategies that supports the inclusion of children with IDD.