Everyone's just like, they're fine, and when in reality, are we? Stories about recess from children experiencing disability

  • Author / Creator
    Rubuliak, Rebecca
  • Recess can be a valuable and significant experience in children’s lives that provides opportunities for outdoor free play and engagement with peers; however children experiencing disability often withdraw or are excluded during recess. The recess context has received little attention from an inclusion perspective and the voices of children experiencing disability remain marginalized in the literature. The purpose of this study was to explore the perspectives of children experiencing disability regarding inclusion during recess using qualitative multiple-case study informed by narrative approaches. Inclusion was defined as (a) a sense of belonging, acceptance, and value, (b) a respectful response to diversity, and (c) a space of encounter with the aim to conceptualize inclusion beyond the inclusion/exclusion binary. Theoretically, the study was guided by a relational ethics framework, highlighting the importance of social relations within physical spaces for maintaining inclusionary and exclusionary practices. Three children experiencing disability, ages 8, 9 and 11, attending integrated primary schools, participated. Data were generated through audio recorded one-on-one semi-structured interviews in the form of in-situ guided tours, drawings, photo taking, mind-mapping, field notes, and reflexive journaling. An inductive thematic within-case analysis was conducted, followed by a cross-case analysis. The findings are presented as a collection of poems, vignettes, and short stories that bring together shared themes, while honouring the unique and nuanced differences of each participant’s experiences. The discussion focuses on the following questions: (1) What is recess truly about?, (2) Who is recess for?, (3) How do peer relationships come into play?, and (4) What remains inaccessible?. The findings encourage dialogue and reflexivity on the socio- spatial factors that contribute to feelings of inclusion at recess for children experiencing disability. This work contributes knowledge to developing supportive environments and practices in recess and free play that resonate with the desires and needs of children experiencing disability.

    This thesis is organized into five chapters. Chapter One offers an introduction to the topics of this thesis with emphasis on research paradigms and positionality. Chapter Two is a comprehensive review of literature. Chapter Three contains the study, as described above, and is a self-contained manuscript. Chapter Four is comprised of additional reflections on the methods used in this work. Finally, Chapter Five provides a brief conclusion.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2020
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Arts
  • DOI
  • License
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