Presentation Details

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Eleventh International Literacy and Education Research Network Conference on Learning

Disabled and Successful: Education in the Life Stories of Disabled High-Achievers

Dr Sonali Laxmi Shah.

The significance of education for occupational success in adulthood has been much researched. Further there is much debate concerning the pros and cons of segregated and integrated education for young people with a disability. This paper adds data to this debate by discussing the educational experiences of 20 high-achievers with congenital disabilities who live in the United Kingdom and were born between 1950 and 1970. It presents personal accounts of the high-achievers' perceptions of how their education, which was either purely segregated, integrated or a combination of both, had influenced their transition to adulthood. While those who attended segregated education considered it to provide a supportive environment that permitted the cultivation of their personalities without the constraints of non-disabled barriers, many others thought it prevented disabled children from interacting with non-disabled peers, thus inhibiting social integration between the disabled and non-disabled world. This was the main perceived advantage of mainstream education although physical access problems meant that some choices were out of reach. The findings highlight how both educational segregation and integration can be compatible with career success of individual disabled people.


Dr Sonali Laxmi Shah  (United Kingdom)
Research Fellow in Sociology and Social Policy
School of Sociology and Social Policy Law and Social Sciences Building
University of Nottingham

Dr Sonali Shah is a postdoctoral research fellow in the School of Sociology and Social Policy at Nottingham University. Her research interests are connected with disabled young people, career choices and transitional development, ethnicity, education, and health and illness.

  • Disabled
  • Successful
  • Education
  • Segregated
  • Integration
  • High-Achievers

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)