Diversity in Portuguese Higher Education: Perception of the Inclusion of Disabled Students

By Ana Maria Pereira Antunes, Leandro Silva Almeida, Sandra Maria Ferreira Estevao Rodrigues, Catarina Pereira Faria and Suzete Micaela Velosa Aleixo Abreu.

Published by The International Journal of Diversity in Education

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The democratization of education and the increasing access of students with disabilities are considerable additional challenges to the higher education institutions. The main purpose of this paper is to analyze how teachers and disabled students perceive the inclusion of people with disabilities in a Portuguese university. The participants were ten teachers (six males and four females) and thirteen students (nine males and four females). Data collection was carried out using semi-structured interviews and data analysis was done using content analysis. The results revealed that teachers generally worry about their disabled students and adopt some adequate special practices. However, both teachers and students point out some difficulties concerning educational practices and institutional resources. The main implications for this university included a proposal to reorganize the internal means of provision for special educational needs. The recommendations included, for instance, the development of a coordinator in this area, the implementation of a support office, and a commitment in the teachers’ training about special educational needs.

Keywords: Inclusive Education, Disabled Students, Higher Education

The International Journal of Diversity in Education, Volume 14, Issue 3-4, April 2015, pp.13-22. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 171.926KB).

Prof. Ana Maria Pereira Antunes

Visiting Assistant Professor, Competence, Centre of Arts and Humanities, University of Madeira, Funchal, Madeira Island, Portugal

Prof. Leandro Silva Almeida

Full Professor of Educational Psychology, Educational Psychology and Special Education, University of Minho, Portugal

Dr. Sandra Maria Ferreira Estevao Rodrigues

Higher Technician, Office for Inclusion, University of Minho, Portugal

Dr. Catarina Pereira Faria

Internship Psychologist, Psychological Counseling Unit, University of Madeira, Portugal

Dr. Suzete Micaela Velosa Aleixo Abreu

Higher Technician, New Opportunities Centre, Regional Directorate of Professional Qualification (Madeira), Portugal