Exploring Occupational Justice For Children With Disabilities Accessing The General Education Curriculum
(2017) Exploring Occupational Justice For Children With Disabilities Accessing The General Education Curriculum, no. 70.
It is widely accepted that children with disabilities should have equal opportunities to participate within the education system alongside their peers. However, it is clear discrepancies lie between policies guiding access to the general education curriculum for children with disabilities and the reality of practice. The literature revealed inconsistencies in practice and amongst education personnel. Their interpretation of access to the curriculum has led to individualised decisions being made and approaches used in relation to the access children are provided with. Occupational justice is a concept emerging from the occupational science literature that strives to address occupational issues of inequity in pursuit of health, well-being and social inclusion for all. The aim of this literature review is to utilise an 'occupational justice lens' to critically analyse opportunities for participation and resources available for children with disabilities required to achieve a state of subjective wellbeing and empowerment when accessing the general education curriculum. The literature search was performed using free text in five databases and further supplemented with a hand search of relevant reference lists. Fourteen articles were chosen for critical appraisal. Themes elicited from the articles included inadequate policy guidance and implementation; differential interpretations amongst educational staff; current modifications and adaptations made to the curriculum; opinions on what inclusive education and the definition of access is. Additionally, barriers to providing access are highlighted including training of teaching personnel and the difficulty in collaboration amongst professionals. Subsequently, facilitators of access to the general education curriculum such as placement in a mainstream classroom along with peer-support and interaction are discussed. Lastly a discussion is presented which debates the application of concepts of occupational justice to these themes and how this may aid the promotion of inclusion for these children. Following exploration, analysis and evaluation, recommendations for practice, research, education and policy are suggested.