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Experiences of an Integration Link Scheme: The Perspectives of Pupils with Severe Learning Difficulties and their Mainstream Peers

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Abstract

The paper explores the perspectives of pupils involved in an integration link. Data from the mainstream pupils demonstrate a generally positive acceptance of the scheme, and in some cases the development of friendly relationships with the special school pupils. A significant number would wish to see more functional integration in lessons. The special school group also show positive feelings about their involvement. Profiles of individual pupils, however, reveal significant variations in the ways they respond to the opportunity for interaction with their mainstream peers. If integration schemes are to promote successful interactive experiences for all the pupils involved, then aspects of individual diversity need to be taken into account. Specifically, variation in motivation for interaction and in the perception of shared interests and experiences warrant consideration. In order to respond to such diversity, the planning of integration schemes should be informed by the views of the pupils themselves.

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