Mothers of children without disabilities’ conceptions of inclusive education: unveiling an exclusionary education system privileging normality and ableism

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4 Scopus citations


This study explores Turkish mothers of children without disabilities’ conceptions of inclusive education for students with disabilities, who have historically been faced with educational inequities. Inclusive education was conceptualized from Fraser’s three-dimensional social justice framework to unpack complex and multidimensional structural obstacles that hinder students with disabilities’ parity of participation in education. Cultural-historical activity theory and disability studies in education perspectives are used as theoretical frameworks to understand how mothers’ understanding of inclusive education is related to their construction of disability, which is grounded within sociocultural, historical, and political contexts. Utilizing a qualitative study, I use a classroom photo with a hypothetical vignette as a stimulus to facilitate focus group and individual interviews. Findings reveal the exclusionary nature of the educational system that privileges normality and ableism, mothers’ rationalization of exclusion, and possibilities of inclusive education. In addition, results show a tension between the distribution and recognition dimensions of justice. Points of interest Disability studies in education examine disability in relation to the social environment, which is missing in inclusive education policy, practices, and research in Turkey. This study focuses on mothers of children without disabilities’ conceptualization of inclusive education. The study findings show that educational practices mostly benefit students without disabilities and students who are perceived as ‘normal’. Inclusive education is believed to be not appropriate for all students with disabilities due to deemed individual deficits, barriers associated with the teaching and learning environment, and negative responses of students without disabilities toward students with disabilities. This study recommends revising Turkey’s inclusive education policy, redesigning teacher education programs, and facilitating collaboration among families and schools.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1678-1702
Number of pages25
JournalDisability and Society
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2022


  • Inclusive education
  • Turkey
  • disability
  • mothers
  • parents
  • special education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • General Health Professions
  • General Social Sciences


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