Inclusion of a child with expressive language difficulties in a mainstream Australian preschool – roundabout ways can create opportunities for participation

Fatema Taj Johora, Marilyn Fleer, Nikolai Veresov

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Contemporary educational policies both at international and national levels acknowledge the educational rights of all children and their inclusion in mainstream educational practices. Like other children at risk, children with disabilities have opportunities to access mainstream education but their participation is not always realised in practice. To address opportunities and challenges of inclusion of children with disabilities, this paper examines the participation of one focus child (four years), with Soto’s Syndrome, who attends a mainstream Australian preschool setting. Guided by the cultural-historical theory, digital video data of the focus child’s activities in everyday preschool practices (13 h) was gathered over a period of eight months. The findings suggest that although the focus child faces difficulties in expressive language, she created her own developmental trajectory of participation. The focus child used educators as her living auxiliary tools and educators used auxiliary questions to support the child to express and communicate through a process of building shared meaning. Though the findings are limited in regard to generalisation, the understanding about the dialectical effort of adults and the focus child to create a roundabout way to overcome incongruences could be a strong basis for conceptualising inclusion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1252-1269
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Inclusive Education
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • cultural-historical theory
  • disability
  • inclusion
  • participation

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