The Experiences of Pupils with Special Educational Needs in Irish-Medium Schools
Keywords:Pupil Voice, Irish-Medium Education, Special Educational Needs, Immersion Education
This study investigated the experiences of nine pupils with special educational needs (SEN) enrolled in Irish-medium (IM) schools in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland through pupil-led interviews. Four pupils had a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder, three had a diagnosis of dyslexia, and two had a diagnosis of specifc speech and language disorder. These categories of SEN were chosen as children with these diagnoses often experience language and communication diffculties. Therefore, it was interesting to investigate the experiences of these pupils when learning through Irish as a second language. The data gathered was analysed using thematic analysis. In IM schools, pupils are immersed in Irish as a second language as most come from homes where English is their frst language. Internationally, limited research has been conducted on pupil voice in terms of children with SEN. However, even less research has been undertaken on pupil voice in terms of pupils with SEN in immersion education contexts. Therefore, the fndings of this study will add to the limited research available in this area and provide an overview of the experiences of pupils with SEN in IM education. Pupil voice is important in educational research for pupils with SEN, as their experiences and perspectives can inform practices and policies.
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