Land of misfit toys: Mothers perceptions of educational environments for their children with Down syndrome

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In this qualitative study, 19 mothers discussed the education of their children with Down syndrome. Mothers reflected on their expectations and perceptions of different educational environments, focussing particularly on their understanding of inclusive education. The findings suggest that mothers beliefs and decisions related to the education of their children with Down syndrome were embedded in culturally constructed notions of normalcy and stigma. Their support for particular educational programmes was inextricably linked with their understanding of the sociocultural meaning of Down syndrome. Findings revealed the existence of institutional resistance to inclusive education as well as dominant educational discourses that positioned students with Down syndrome as other and identified segregated learning environments as most appropriate for these students.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)435-448
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Inclusive Education
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2013



  • children with disabilities
  • disability studies
  • down syndrome
  • inclusive education
  • parents beliefs
  • special education

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