"It helps if you are a loud person": Listening to the voice of a school student with a vision impairment

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Students with vision impairment who attend mainstream secondary schools in Australia may not experience education as an inclusive and positive experience. This study of one senior secondary student with vision impairment provides a rare opportunity to give voice and provide understandings of the experience from the perspective of the student. The research question that drove this study was: What is the experience of mainstream schooling for a student with a vision impairment? The participant in this Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis study was Edward (pseudonym), a student in his final year of secondary schooling. Edward encountered significant barriers to inclusion, specifically teaching, technology, administrative inflexibility, and restricted social engagement. The participant has become resilient with a strong sense of self and has developed a range of personal strategies to address his challenges. It is evident that Edward was rarely asked about his needs and perceptions, rather decisions were made for and about him by those without a vision impairment. Educators require a clearer understanding of vision impairment and the impact that their often unintentionally exclusionary teaching practices may have on the educational experiences of their students.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6
Pages (from-to)2369 - 2384
Number of pages15
JournalThe Qualitative Report
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 7 Sep 2017


  • Barriers
  • Disability
  • Inclusive education
  • Interpretative phenomenological analysis
  • Secondary schooling
  • Student voice
  • Vision impairment

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