“They think they know what’s best for me”: an interpretative phenomenological analysis of the experience of inclusion and support in high school for vision-impaired students with albinism

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The challenges of social inclusion and access to the curriculum facing students with visual impairment in schools are well documented. The refreshed UK Vision Strategy (2013) seeks to improve education for students with vision impairment. In order to do this, it is important to understand how students with visual impairment experience education. This study used interpretative phenomenological analysis to examine and understand the way in which two vision-impaired students with albinism experienced inclusion and support in high school. The students, aged 16 and 15, had approximately 10% functional vision, stable from birth and had a record of additional support needs at their respective schools. They were interviewed using a simple schedule of open questions to explore their perceptions of inclusion and of using low-vision aids in school. The two main themes that emerged from the interviews were experiencing low vision in school and experiencing additional support in school. A negative cycle of inclusion was identified based on the students’ internalised feelings of difference. Discrepancy was identified between the low-vision aid priorities identified by experts and those identified by students. Recommendations are made to address these issues.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)108-118
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Disability, Development and Education
Issue number2
Early online date9 May 2014
Publication statusPublished - 9 May 2014


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