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Ithaca College

Publication Date

Fall 2015

Program Name

South Africa: Community Health and Social Policy


South Africa has been in the process of implementing inclusive education since 1996, and recent research has emphasized that strong education support services are needed to achieve inclusive education. In order to better understand the role that occupational therapy plays in implementing inclusive education, I explored how occupational therapy intersects with the implementation of inclusive education at Lungisisa Indlela Village (LIV), a residential care facility for orphaned and vulnerable children with approximately 200 children in Verulam, South Africa.

I conducted a case study by engaging in participant observation in everyday activities around the village with the children, conducting informal interviews with the special needs class teacher, the occupational therapist, and the speech therapist, and observing the full-time occupational therapist in therapy sessions and her daily work routine over the course of three weeks.

Through my inquiry, I discovered that occupational therapy plays a large role in assisting disabled students and supporting teachers in inclusive classrooms, as well as determining which children may succeed in an inclusive classroom as opposed to a special needs class. The occupational therapist at LIV embraces the social model of disability which motivates her to look for ways to adapt each child’s environment in order to make him or her successful in the classroom. Although LIV has not achieved full inclusion by the standards set by the South African government in the Education White Paper 6, it has created an inclusive community culture and attempts to provide all children with an equitable chance at receiving an education.


Education | Inequality and Stratification | International and Comparative Education | Student Counseling and Personnel Services



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