The social experience of early childhood for children with learning disabilities: inclusion, competence and agency

Nind, Melanie; Flewitt, Rosie and Payler, Jane (2010). The social experience of early childhood for children with learning disabilities: inclusion, competence and agency. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 31(6) pp. 653–670.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/01425692.2010.515113

Abstract

This paper tells of the social experiences of three four-year-old children with learning disabilities as they negotiate their daily lives in their homes and early education settings in England. We apply a social model of childhood disability to the relatively unexplored territory of young children and use vignettes drawn from video observation to explore the interactive spaces contained in settings with different cultures of inclusion. Using a multimodal approach to the data we show the nuanced ways in which the children enact their agency. We explore the relationships between agency, culture and structure, and argue that children with
learning disabilities are active in making meaning within social and relational networks to which they contribute differently depending on the barriers to doing and being that each network presents. Thus, the paper provides an original use of the notion of distributed competence.

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