Implementation of inclusive education for children with intellectual and developmental disabilities in African countries: a scoping review.

Peer-reviewed article
(2019 Oct) Disabil Rehabil, 41 2578-2595

Authors

Okyere C, Aldersey HM, Lysaght R, Sulaiman SK

Abstract

To advance understanding of practices that support inclusion of children with intellectual and developmental disabilities in inclusive education classrooms in Africa by conducting a review of the extant literature. Five academic databases were searched supplemented by a hand search of key journals and references of included studies. Two authors independently screened studies via a reference manager (Covidence) which allowed for blinding. A third author was consulted in cases of conflict. Thirty articles that provided empirical evidence of inclusive education implementation were included. Eight articles highlighted practices that support inclusion of children with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Using Bronfenbrenner's bioecological framework, findings revealed that inclusive education implementation is influenced by factors on the bio level, micro level, meso level, and macro level. Recommendations for promoting inclusive education implementation are provided. Inclusion goes beyond teachers and requires strong commitment of other stakeholders such as families and governments. To guarantee the smooth inclusion of children with special education needs and particularly with intellectual and developmental disabilities, a set of practices validated through rigorous research as supportive and unique and that can be universal to Africa is wise. Implications for rehabilitation A number of strategies were identified that can improve the classroom inclusion of children with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Development of policies that support such strategies could improve implementation. Inclusion goes beyond teachers. Rehabilitation professionals (i.e. occupational therapists) and educational professionals should partner to identify practical solutions to the challenges of creating inclusive environments for children with special education needs. Committing more resources and time towards the development and implementation of special education policies can advance the successful inclusion of children with special education needs.