‘You have to be like everyone else’: Support for students with vision impairment in mainstream secondary schools

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The experiences of seven Australian senior secondary school students with vision impairment attending mainstream schools in Victoria were explored to gain an understanding of the support mechanisms operating to allow them access to an inclusive education. This qualitative study primarily used the in-depth interviews of students, augmented by brief interviews with Heads of Education Support, parents, aides and teachers. Students attributed difficulties to time available, accessing e-print and large format materials, assistive technology and access, and exclusion from classes of science, mathematics, and physical education in particular. In Australia, there is an expectation that legally mandated adjustments for students with disabilities will enable equitable, quality, and inclusive education. This was not evident in the experiences of the students in this study. Having aide support did not prevent exclusionary practices. Educators and support staff need to understand the perspectives of students with vision impairments to better facilitate successful teaching and learning experiences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)267-287
Number of pages21
JournalSupport for Learning: British journal for learning support
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2017


  • aides
  • disability
  • education support
  • inclusion
  • qualitative study
  • vision impairment

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