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Educational pathways and transitions in the early school years: Special educational needs, support provisions and inclusive education
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Special Education.
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The overall aim of this research is to describe and analyse the educational pathways from preschool to school of a group of children with and without special educational needs. The aim is also to describe and analyse children’s views and experiences of early years education, and how these can be obtained.

The research comprises six studies that are presented in four articles and two conference papers. Longitudinal and multiple-case study designs, and mixed method approaches are adopted in the empirical studies, and the data is collected via observations, a questionnaire, documents, conversations and interviews with staff, children’s drawings and interviews with children.

The results from the empirical studies show a variation of pathways to compulsory education; changes in activities and relationships in the transitions; a variation in preschool quality; a broad conceptualising of special educational needs; an application of comprehensive or specialised typologies in the educational settings; an undecided and cautious attitude toward inclusive education; an allocation of generous resources to specialised and segregated programmes; and a diversity of support provisions. The children report more positive than negative experiences of their early school years and pinpoint the importance of having a sense of belonging among peers; opportunities for creative play and thinking; experiences of speed, excitement and physical challenges; elements of cosiness, withdrawals and comfort for recreation; experiences of growth in knowledge and understanding of the world; feeling safe; feeling free and autonomous; and preventing homesickness in order to thrive.

The results of the literature review are that the researchers may obtain data from children with and without special educational needs by means of traditional and innovative data collection methods. For broadening participation and sharing of views, the researchers may offer relational and material support.

The thesis has relevance for researchers in the field of special education, inclusive education and early childhood education and care. It has also relevance for teacher training, policy makers and stakeholders, school heads, teachers and families.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Special Education, Stockholm University , 2016. , 136 p.
Keyword [en]
bioecological model, children’s views, disability, drawings, first grade, inclusive education, leisure-time centre, longitudinal, mixed method, multiple-case study, preschool, preschool-class, special education, support, transitions
National Category
Pedagogy
Research subject
Special Education
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-126011ISBN: 978-91-7649-309-0 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-126011DiVA: diva2:896595
Public defence
2016-03-11, David Magnussonsalen (U31), Frescati Hagväg 8, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following paper was unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 6: Submitted.

Available from: 2016-02-17 Created: 2016-01-21 Last updated: 2017-02-20Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Characteristics of Swedish preschools that provide education and care to children with special educational needs
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Characteristics of Swedish preschools that provide education and care to children with special educational needs
2016 (English)In: European Journal of Special Needs Education, ISSN 0885-6257, E-ISSN 1469-591X, Vol. 31, no 1, 124-139 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In Sweden, preschool inclusion is embraced and preschools are open for children both with and without special educational needs. The purpose of this study was to examine the characteristics of a number of preschool units in Sweden that provide education and care to children with special educational needs with regard to organisation, resources and quality. The purpose was also to provide reflections on the usefulness of different structured observation rating scales designed to assess preschool quality. Eight preschool units located in four Swedish districts were visited. A total of sixteen 5-year-old children with special educational needs/disability and forty typically developing children of the same age participated. The data sources were structured observation rating scales (Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale, Caregiver Interaction Scale and Inclusive Classroom Profile), ABILITIES Index questionnaire, unstructured observation, interviews, conversations and documents. Two overall typologies of preschool units were identified: the comprehensive units enrolled children with various special educational needs/disability, while the specialised units enrolled children with the same disability. The staff resources were greater in the specialised units. The overall quality in the observed units ranged from low to good. In units educating children with a disability diagnosis, the quality was never low. None of the preschool units was scored as having a good inclusive environment. The structured observation rating scales complemented each other and covered, in part, different quality aspects of the units. The study shows that there is a large variation in quality between the units and that there is a need to further develop the quality of the preschool units and of the services for children with special educational needs in Swedish preschools.

Keyword
Disability, early childhood education and care, inclusive education, multiple-case study, preschool, special educational needs
National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
Special Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-120350 (URN)10.1080/08856257.2015.1108041 (DOI)000366856800009 ()
Available from: 2015-09-07 Created: 2015-09-07 Last updated: 2017-12-04Bibliographically approved
2. Special Educational Needs and Support Provisions in Swedish Preschools: A Multiple-Case Study
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Special Educational Needs and Support Provisions in Swedish Preschools: A Multiple-Case Study
2015 (English)In: International Journal of Early Childhood Special Education, ISSN 1308-5581, Vol. 7, no 2, 270-290 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The purpose of this multiple-case study was to investigate the abilities and needs of children in some comprehensive and specialised preschools adopting some form of inclusive education, and to describe the provided support that was designed to enhance children’s participation and learning. Fifty-six children and eight preschools located in four municipalities were enrolled. The data was collected via observations, conversations, interviews and a questionnaire. The abilities of the children varied and the need of support among the children ranged from some needs to high and very high needs. Environmental and interpersonal support was integrated into ongoing activities, routines and plays, both in the comprehensive and specialised preschools. In the specialised preschools, one-on-one training and speech therapy, as well as an extended timeframe, were also provided. The descriptions of the preschool practices are related to national and international discussions concerning the topics of inclusive education and support provisions in preschools.    

Keyword
Disability, early childhood, inclusive education, special educational needs, support provisions
National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
Special Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-120352 (URN)
Available from: 2015-09-07 Created: 2015-09-07 Last updated: 2017-12-04Bibliographically approved
3. Transition patterns after inclusive preschool: The educational pathways of children with and without special educational needs in Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Transition patterns after inclusive preschool: The educational pathways of children with and without special educational needs in Sweden
2015 (English)In: Special Educational Needs and Inclusive Practices: An International Perspectiv. Conference Proceedings / [ed] Fabio Dovigo et al., Bergamo: University of Bergamo , 2015, 98-102 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Bergamo: University of Bergamo, 2015
Keyword
Educational pathways, Inclusive education, Multiple-case study, Special educational needs, Transitions
National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
Special Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-120348 (URN)978-88-940721-0-5 (ISBN)
Conference
Special Educational Needs and Inclusive Practices, University of Bergamo, Italy, 23rd - 24th October 2014
Available from: 2015-09-07 Created: 2015-09-07 Last updated: 2016-01-26Bibliographically approved
4. Inclusive Education, Support Provisions and Early Childhood Educational Pathways in the Context of Sweden: A Longitudinal Study
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Inclusive Education, Support Provisions and Early Childhood Educational Pathways in the Context of Sweden: A Longitudinal Study
2015 (English)In: International Journal of Special Education, ISSN 0827-3383, E-ISSN 1917-7844, Vol. 30, no 3, 3-16 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The purpose of this study was to investigate the educational pathways of a group of children with and without special educational needs from the last year in preschool to 1st grade. Fifty-six children participated and 65 educational settings were visited. A longitudinal and mixed method approach was adopted. Data was collected via observations, conversations, interviews and a questionnaire. Over the early school years, the number of children with special educational needs increased. Their need of support ranged from some needs, to high and to very high needs. The support was integrated into ongoing activities and offered among peers, as well as provided in the form of one-on-one training and therapy, one-on-one conversation and after school training. The settings were comprehensive or specialised in a certain diagnosis, and the application of inclusion ranged from non-existent, to integrated activities and partial and full inclusion. The findings are related to national and international discussions on the topics of inclusive education, support provisions and early childhood educational pathways.

National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
Special Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-120354 (URN)
External cooperation:
Available from: 2015-09-07 Created: 2015-09-07 Last updated: 2017-12-04Bibliographically approved
5. A Review of Research in Educational Settings Involving Children's Responses
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A Review of Research in Educational Settings Involving Children's Responses
2014 (English)In: Child Indicators Research, ISSN 1874-897X, E-ISSN 1874-8988, Vol. 7, no 4, 751-768 p.Article, review/survey (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The aim of this review was to locate research in educational settings incorporating responses from children with or without disabilities or special educational needs, and to describe how the research was conducted. The review was guided by a literature review outline and inspired by a thematic analysis. It encompasses 24 empirical articles published between 1983 and 2012 inclusive. The researchers who involved children's responses in their research obtained the data by adopting traditional data collection methods such as interviews, observations and questionnaires, and by adopting innovative data collection methods such as visualisations, writing, child-directed tours and informal discussions. The researchers offered special support to children with disabilities or special educational needs which created opportunities for those children to opinion-share. The special support was relational and material such as assistance from an adult or peer, the use of picture symbols and child preferences, and the exclusion of difficult questions. Implications for theory and practice are offered.

Keyword
Children's responses, Education, Special educational needs, Methods, Special support, Well-being
National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
Special Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-113126 (URN)10.1007/s12187-014-9253-7 (DOI)000345994500005 ()
Note

AuthorCount:1;

Available from: 2015-02-25 Created: 2015-01-23 Last updated: 2017-12-04Bibliographically approved
6. Ensuring the rights of children to be heard: Children’s views on their early years education in the context of Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Ensuring the rights of children to be heard: Children’s views on their early years education in the context of Sweden
2016 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation only (Refereed)
National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
Special Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-126010 (URN)
Conference
International Society on Early Intervention (ISEI), June 8-10, 2016, Stockholm, Sweden
Available from: 2016-01-21 Created: 2016-01-21 Last updated: 2016-12-06

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