Social Participation and Social Support

The Views of Students With Special Educational Needs




inclusion, students with special educational needs, social participation, social support


Social support is essential for overcoming the difficulties that students with special educational needs face in interacting with peers. The goal of the study was to explore the perspective of students presenting with hearing, visual and physical or motor deficiencies and specific learning difficulties about what they consider to be social support. To this end, we developed a qualitative study. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 15 students (3rd to the 12th grade; 8 to 18 years old). Answers were analyzed from previously defined categories, subcategories emerged from the data. Students valued the availability of their classmates and teachers to support and involve them in class activities, as well as expressions of empathy, care and attention. Students mentioned situations of rejection and exclusion. The paper discusses conditions that favor mutual knowledge and a culture of reciprocal social support, both of which are essential to facilitate students’ social participation.


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Author Biographies

Sofia Freire, UIDEF, Instituto de Educação, Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal

Professora auxiliar no Instituto de Educação da Universidade de Lisboa e investigadora da Unidade de Investigação e Desenvolvimento em Educação e Formação. É licenciada em Psicologia, com mestrado em Psicopatologia e Psicologia Clínica e doutoramento em Educação (com o tema inclusão e educação de Surdos). Os seus interesses de investigação centram-se em questões da educação inclusiva, tendo coordenado e participado em diversos projetos nacionais e internacionais nessa temática e publicado diversos artigos em revistas nacionais e estrangeiras. Leciona unidades curriculares na área da psicologia e da inclusão no Doutoramento em Educação Inclusiva,  e em cursos de mestrado e de licenciatura.

Ana Paula Caetano, UIDEF, Instituto de Educação, Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal

Professora Associada do Instituto de Educação da Universidade de Lisboa, investigadora integrada da UIDEF (Unidade de Investigação e Desenvolvimento em Educação e Formação), com doutoramento e mestrado em Ciências da Educação pela Faculdade de Psicologia e de Ciências da Educação da Universidade de Lisboa. Coordena atualmente as áreas de especialidade do doutoramento de Educação - especialidade de Formação de Professores e Supervisão, e do mestrado de Educação e Formação – Desenvolvimento Social e Cultural. Tem participado em estudos e projetos nacionais e internacionais em temas relativos à formação de professores, cidadania e ensino superior, com publicações nacionais e internacionais em revistas e livros da especialidade, nomeadamente sobre formação ética de professores, mediação educacional e comunitária, educação intercultural e emocional, (cyber)bullying, inclusão educativa e educação artística, bem como sobre metodologias participativas de investigação, entre as quais a investigação-ação e o selfstudy.

Carolina Carvalho, UIDEF, Instituto de Educação, Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal

Professora associada no Instituto de Educação da Universidade de Lisboa e investigadora da Unidade de Investigação e Desenvolvimento em Educação e Formação. É licenciada em Psicologia da Educação e doutorada em Psicologia da Educação. Participa em diferentes projetos internacionais e nacionais sobre formação de professores, ambientes de aprendizagem inovadores e inclusão escolar. Leciona em cursos de pós-graduação e licenciatura nas áreas da aprendizagem, inclusão, diversidade e relações escola-comunidade. Colabora com universidades no Brasil e na Europa. Publicou vários artigos e capítulos de livros, supervisionou projectos de pós-doutoramento, teses de doutoramento e dissertações de mestrado.

Maria João Mogarro, UIDEF, Instituto de Educação, Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal

Professora Associada do Instituto de Educação da Universidade de Lisboa e investigadora da sua Unidade de Investigação e Desenvolvimento em Educação e Formação. É doutorada em Ciências da Educação e em Pedagogia - Formação de Professores. Participa em vários projetos internacionais e nacionais sobre formação de professores, educação inclusiva, currículo, cultura escolar e património. Atualmente coordena o Doutoramento em Educação Inclusiva e o Mestrado em Educação, especialidade de Supervisão e Orientação da Prática Profissional no mesmo Instituto. Supervisiona projetos de pós-doutoramento, teses de doutoramento e estágios internacionais de doutoramento. É autora, co-autora e/ou organizadora de livros, capítulos de livros e artigos publicados em revistas internacionais e nacionais.

Roberta Fadda, Department of Pedagogy, Psychology and Philosophy, University of Cagliari, Italy

Associate Professor in Developmental Psychology and Education Psychology at the Department of Pedagogy, Psychology, and Philosophy at the University of Cagliari (Italy). She's Senior Lecturer of Developmental Psychology in the course of study of Teaching and Learning at the Faculty of Humanity Studies of the University of Cagliari (Italy). She's a member of the Italian Association of Psychology (A.I.P., Developmental Section), the European Society of Developmental Psychology (E.S.D.P.), and the International Society for Autism Research (I.M.F.A.R.). Her main research interest focuses on the following areas: socio-communicative development in typically developing children and in individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders; psychological processing involved in decision-making (moral judgment, empathy, theory of mind); the development of biological concepts in children; bilingualism in minority languages; school integration in atypical development. She's involved in several multidisciplinary research projects on social development, aimed at implementing the study of basic psychological processes by employing eye-tracking technology and paradigms from other disciplines like physics, economics, and neuroscience. Since 2003, she's been the scientist responsible for several courses on Autism Spectrum Disorders for psychologists, clinicians, teachers, and parents at the Center for Pervasive Developmental Disorders in Cagliari (Italy), directed by Dr. Giuseppe Doneddu.


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