The Future of Education

Edition 14

Accepted Abstracts

Developing Inclusive Pedagogy with Students with Intellectual Disabilities as Co-Researchers

Nicola Mannion, Mary Immaculate College, Limerick, Ireland (Ireland)


Ratification of the United Nations Conventions on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) in 1989 initiated academic interest and commitment to advancing advocacy and support for children, their rights, their voice and their participation in all decisions which affect them (Jones 2017). As a result, children’s policy developments in national and international contexts now insist that the inclusion of the voices of children and young people are necessary to ensure their lives are better understood and their rights upheld. Yet the perspectives of children, and in particular of children with disabilities are rarely consulted and children with disabilities largely remain invisible (Moloney et al. 2021). Undeniably, children’s participation in research, particularly children with disabilities can pose methodological and ethical challenges (Keenan 2016). However, researchers have a duty to include children with disabilities as it is both their right and because findings can potentially be different when they are included (Alderson and Marrow 2020).  This paper presents an overview of a participatory research methodology which uses photovoice as the main method of data collection. This study seeks to explore the perceptions and experiences of students with intellectual disabilities in mainstream post-primary schools in Ireland. Employing photovoice, repositions students with intellectual disabilities as co-researchers. Photovoice supports students to document their lived experiences using photography. It’s use operationalises Lundy’s Model of Participation (2007), which serves as the theoretical and methodological framework for this study, by providing space, voice, audience and influence which are necessary for children as right bearing citizens to express their views and have their voices heard.

Keywords Children’s Rights, Inclusive Participatory Research, Student Voice

[1] Alderson, P. and Morrow, V. (2020) The Ethics of Research with Children and Young People, A Practical Handbook, 2ND ed., California: Thousand Oaks.

[2] Jones, T (2017) ‘Unsatisfactory Progress: Article 12 and Pupil Participation in English Schools’, International Journal of Children’s Rights, 25, 68-84.

[3] Keenan, D. (2016) Involving children and young people in social research: navigating the balance between protection and participation, unpublished thesis (Ph.D.), National University of Ireland, Galway.
[4] Lundy, L. (2007) ‘Voice’ Is Not Enough: Conceptualising Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child’, British Educational Research Journal, 33(6), 927-942.
[5] Moloney, C., de Bhalís, C., Kennan, D., Kealy, C., Quinlivan, S., Flynn, E. and Phiri, J. (2021) Ming the Gap: Barriers to the realisation of the rights of children with disabilities in Ireland, Galway, National University College Galway.
[6] United Nations Declaration of the Rights of the Child (1959), available:


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