Liberating silent voices – perspectives of children with profound & complex learning needs on inclusion



Accessible summary

  • • Listening to what young people with severe learning disabilities have to say about inclusion is important.
  • • Researchers must be prepared to use a range of resources to facilitate communication.
  • • Resources must be appropriate and familiar to the individual.


This paper describes the evaluation of a drama production which involved 6 young people with profound and complex learning needs and 23 pupils from a mainstream school. The young people worked together on the project for nearly 2 years. At the end of the project we wanted to find out what the young people with disabilities thought of the inclusion project. Very often, the thoughts of young people with learning disabilities are not included because professionals do not have the resources or experience to conduct the interviews. This paper explains how the interviews were arranged, what tools were used and finishes with two case studies which are examples of what the young people thought. This research demonstrates that young people with severe learning disabilities have important messages to tell us about their experiences of inclusion. This paper gives examples of how we can enable young people with severe learning disabilities to express their views.