Examining the inclusion experiences of students with intellectual disabilities : a study focusing on the transition from elementary to secondary school
Trent-Kratz, Marion Edna
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Transitioning from elementary to secondary school is a major event in adolescents' lives and can be associated with academic, social, and emotional challenges (Shaffer, 2005; Sirsch, 2003). Considerably less research has focused on the transitional experiences of students with intellectual disabilities (lD) as they enter secondary school and the role of educational inclusion in this process (Noland, Cason, & Lincoln, 2007). Conceivably, students with ID who leave inclusive elementary schools, where they have been educated alongside their peers without ID, and who enter segregated secondary educational placements may experience unique social and emotional challenges (Farmer, Pearl, & Van Acker, 1996; Fryxell & Kennedy, 1995; Shaffer, 2005). This study examined the transitional experiences of 6 students with ID and the role of educational inclusion, with a focus on elementary to secondary school transitions from inclusive to segregated settings and vice versa. This study included the collection of multiple sources of data. Semi-structured interviews with 6 caregivers and students with ID were conducted. Students' Individual Education Transitional Plans were discussed in caregivers' interviews to determine how they shaped students' educational inclusion experiences (Ontario Ministry of Education & Training, 1999/2000/2004). Parts ofthe following questionnaires were "qualitized" (Tashakkori & Teddlie, 1998) and administered orally: "Youth Self-Report" (YSR; Achenbach, 2001 c) and "Child Behaviour Checklist Caregivers Form" (CBLC/6-18; Achenbach, 200la). The findings of this study contribute to the literature on educational inclusion by highlighting the positive/negative social and emotional impact of congruent and incongruent transitional experiences of students with ID and the role of educational inclusion.