The illusion of Inclusion for Children with Invisible Disabilities in Ontario Public Schools
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The current study examined inclusive education in Ontario public schools, as it is experienced by students with invisible disabilities and their families. Invisible disabilities are those that are not immediately visible to the naked eye. Some invisible disabilities that commonly affect children include (but are not limited to) high functioning autism spectrum disorder, attention deficit disorder, externalizing behaviours, depression/anxiety, and oppositional defiant disorder. Most literature to date focuses upon teacher/administrative perspectives of inclusion, while experiential data from families is absent. Parents, recruited through various community organizations and Quintilian Private School, completed of a survey on their families’ experiences within the Ontario public school system. Students with invisible disabilities completed an adapted photovoice exercise, where they shared a visual and textual summary of their feelings about public school and specialized private school, respectively. It was discovered that inclusive education for children with invisible disabilities is more an illusion than a reality in Ontario public schools.