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Strategies for improving disability awareness and social inclusion of children and young people with cerebral palsy

Authors

  • S. Lindsay,

    Corresponding author
    1. Bloorview Research Institute, Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, and
    2. Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada
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  • A. C. McPherson

    1. Bloorview Research Institute, Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, and
    2. Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada
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Sally Lindsay, Bloorview Research Institute, Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, 150 Kilgour Road, Toronto, ON, Canada M4G 1R8, E-mail: slindsay@hollandbloorview.ca

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.

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