Many Ontario Schools Failing Students Who Have an Intellectual Disability: Report

Research by Brock University and the University of Western Ontario found that public education in Ontario is failing students who have intellectual disabilities. The research was released in a report called “If Inclusion Means Everyone, Why Not Me?” Data was compiled from survey results of 280 parents and guardians of students who have an intellectual disability who were enrolled in Ontario’s public education system in the last five years.

Academic and social barriers

Sixty-seven percent of parents or guardians reported that students who have an intellectual disability often did not have access to the appropriate curriculum; 62.7 per cent said students often did not participate in extracurricular school activities.

 Exclusion

Forty-five percent said students who have an intellectual disability were excluded from school or the classroom for disability-related reasons.

The Importance of Leadership

School principals have an especially profound effect on the school culture and the quality of a child’s education. “Good leadership at the administrative level was often crucial in conflict resolution.”

 Inclusion Makes a Difference

“It was clear from our work that exclusion was one of the most painful and trying instances for parents,” says the report, and yet there was a nugget of good news in the findings. “Students in inclusive settings were far more likely to be included in extracurricular and unstructured school activities, meaning that they had a much greater opportunity to socialize with their peers outside of the traditional classroom. It was also evident that students in an inclusive high school setting were far more likely to be enrolled in for-credit courses, allowing them to more fully reap the benefits of our education system.”

An article about the report appeared in the Brock University newspaper “The Brock News.” The report, “If Inclusion Means Everyone, Why Not Me?” is available online. A French version is available here.