Successful School Interventions for Students with Disability During Covid-19: Empirical Evidence from Australia

Catherine Smith, Massimiliano Tani, Sophie Yates, Helen Dickinson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    Children and young people with disability are a “vulnerable” population within a pandemic context as they face structural inequities and discrimination as a result of their impairments. In this paper, we report research that sought to examine the learning experiences of children and young people with disability during the COVID-19 pandemic. We wanted to understand how this group fared and whether different interventions impacted on these experiences. Data were collected from an online survey organized by Children and Young People with Disability Australia (CYDA) that garnered responses from more than 700 families. The study contributes empirical evidence to the growing literature about COVID-19-related impacts on learners already recognized as experiencing multiple disadvantages in schooling. We find some significant gaps in supports offered to students with disability and their families. Notwithstanding that some students did not receive any support from their schools, where supports were offered, social supports had the greatest positive impact on feelings of learner engagement. Our findings support key propositions in the social and emotional learning literature, namely that particular resourcing should be dedicated to social interaction and feelings of belonging as these are crucial to learners engaging in learning processes. There are clear implications of these findings in terms of what educational institutions might do to help engage students with disability in remote learning.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)367–377
    JournalThe Asia-Pacific Education Researcher
    Publication statusPublished - 2022

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