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A framework for the equality and inclusion of disabled students in higher education. / Karen Beauchamp-Pryor

Swansea University Author: Karen, Beauchamp-Pryor

Abstract

Disabled students are accessing higher education in increasing numbers, but this I argue does not necessarily mean that their experiences reflect equality and inclusion. In this study, I address what it means to be included and I determine those factors that are likely to achieve equality and inclus...

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Published: 2007
Institution: Swansea University
Degree level: Doctoral
Degree name: Ph.D
URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa42831
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Abstract: Disabled students are accessing higher education in increasing numbers, but this I argue does not necessarily mean that their experiences reflect equality and inclusion. In this study, I address what it means to be included and I determine those factors that are likely to achieve equality and inclusion for disabled students, namely: choice, control and consultation.Central to this analysis and understanding is the way in which disability has been and is currently being defined and responded to within legislation, policy and provision, as this is likely to significantly impact on the experiences of disabled people within society. Arguably, where an individual or medical model perspective is dominant, focussing on individual impairment and functional limitation, the response towards disabled people is one based on welfare solutions of care, concern and compensation. Such policies, as evidenced in this study lead to dependency, inequality and a lack of inclusion. Alternatively, where policies stem from a social model perspective, identifying the cause of disability as resulting from attitudinal, environmental and organisational barriers, the response is one based on equality and rights, recognising the importance of choice, control and consultation. Such policies, as proven in this thesis, lead to independency, equality and inclusion.Disabled people have historically lacked power to challenge dominant perceptions and values within legislation, policy and provision and, consequently, it is argued that this has led to oppressive policies and practices resulting in inequality and exclusion. Evidence gathered from analysis of national and Welsh policy, together with comprehensive analysis based on an in-depth study of one university in Wales, provided conclusive data on how these inequalities arise and, more importantly, how these inequalities can be challenged.The findings from this study provide an evidenced-based explanation as to how equality and inclusion for disabled students can be secured.
Keywords: Students with disabilities, higher education
College: College of Human and Health Sciences