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Keywords:

  • bullying;
  • cerebral palsy;
  • disability;
  • disability awareness;
  • inclusion;
  • young people's views

Abstract

Background  Children and youth with disabilities are at a higher risk of being socially excluded or bullied while at school compared with their typically developing peers. This study explored disabled children's suggestions for improving social inclusion.

Methods  Fifteen children with cerebral palsy were interviewed or took part in a group discussion about social inclusion and bullying. All interviews and focus groups were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim.

Results  The children and youth described several strategies to help improve social inclusion at school including: (1) disclosure of condition and creating awareness of disability; (2) awareness of bullying; (3) developing a peer support network and building self-confidence; and (4) suggestions on what teachers can do.

Conclusions  It is recommended that children's suggestions be considered within the classroom context to enhance the social inclusion and participation of children with disabilities.