Inclusion is typically conceptualized merely in terms of a disconnected and disembodied individual’s presence within a space or proximity to their peers (Haegele & Maher, 2021). This conceptualization is problematic, as it conflates negative experiences in physical education with positive-oriented ideals about inclusion, suggests students with disabilities should ‘fit in’ to existing curricula, and doesn’t take into consideration the subjective experiences of students with disabilities themselves (Haegele, 2019).
The aim of this presentation is to provide a conceptual understanding of inclusion that extends beyond materiality and the physical existence and considers the subjective experiences of students with disabilities. With that, I will provide an overview of inclusion conceptualized as a subjective experience, and juxtapose this conversation against understandings of integration as a physical placement. Implications, including that inclusive experiences can be extended to non-integrated settings and conversations about the temporal and relational dimensions about inclusion will be introduced. Finally, the importance of co-constructing realities, and the voices of disabled students themselves in understanding the subjective experiences of inclusion, will be described.
Haegele, J. A. (2019). Inclusion illusion: Questioning the inclusiveness of integrated physical
education. Quest, 71(4), 389-397. https://doi.org/10.1080/00336297.2019.1602547
Haegele, J. A., & Maher, A. (2022). Autistic youth experiences of belonging in integrated physical education. Autism, 26(1), 51-61. https://doi.org/10.1177/13623613211018637