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Education as Change

versão On-line ISSN 1947-9417
versão impressa ISSN 1682-3206


PHILPOTT, Susan  e  MUTHUKRISHNA, Nithi. A Critical Analysis of Key Policies Shaping Services for Young Children with Disabilities in South Africa. Educ. as change [online]. 2019, vol.23, n.1, pp.1-23. ISSN 1947-9417.

There have been significant recent developments in the policy arena in South Africa in respect of disability and of early childhood development viz. the White Paper on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the National Integrated Early Childhood Development Policy. Using Bacchi's analytical framework encapsulated in the question, What's the problem represented to be?, these policies were subjected to scrutiny, analysing how disability and inclusion are represented within them, and how these representations shape the lives of young children with disabilities. Among the underlying assumptions contained in these policies is that barriers excluding persons with disabilities are socially constructed and their removal will result in inclusion. Further, the policies imply that marginalisation and vulnerability are inherent traits of children with disabilities. Inclusion is portrayed as an ideology rather than a practice. Amongst unproblematised elements of the polices is the supposition that children with disabilities are a homogenous group, and that there is a distinction between children with and without disabilities. The effects of these representations manifest in a focus on social barriers, which downplays the importance of habilitation and rehabilitation for the individual child and may result in children with disabilities being portrayed as passive recipients of services. It may also undermine choice and agency of children and their families. Further, the analysis indicates that defining the principle of inclusion too broadly makes it difficult to measure.

Palavras-chave : children with disabilities; disability; early childhood development; inclusion; policy.

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