Sitarov V. A. Socio-pedagogical Approaches and Practices of Setting Up an Accessible Educational Environment for Children with Disabilities
The article was prepared with financial support from the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (grant No. 13-06-00318 “Social Conditions of Providing Accessible Learning Environment for Children with Disabilities”).
Abstract ♦ The article considers the problem of education for children with disabilities, arguing in favor of their full social adaptation through the practice of educational integration, and outlining the psychological and pedagogical approaches to building this practice.
For a long time, social adaptation of children with disabilities has been subsumed under defectology and norm-centered approaches which rested upon the medical model of adaptation. Based on the category of the children’s condition, these approaches initiated the practice of isolating atypical children, which led to the development of an inferiority complex in them. We are currently in need of a transition to the practice of social development, which would provide training and adaptation to children with disabilities. Its ultimate goal is their active socialization by eliminating a number of physical and cultural barriers they face.
Learning from the experience of building progressive models of training for atypical children, we have analyzed various approaches to their full adaptation. The anthropological approach argues for a complete and multidimensional study and development of such children in order to reveal their capabilities for successful education. The comprehensive extended care approach seeks to create a healthy environment adapted for specific features of the child. The cultural-historical approach views defects as sociocultural phenomena and points at the universal laws of development for all children, irrespective of their physical and mental status. Montessori's method consists in systematic development of the subject-developing environment, with special participation of the teacher as partner and facilitator and with a special focus on the sensitive periods of child development. The sociocentric approach brings together several areas of research which assert a crucial role of society in the development of atypical children. Finally, the victimological approach considers disabled children the victims of socialization and develops ways of overcoming the vicious practices.
Our analysis leads us to a conclusion that integrational approach based on the idea of coeducation of healthy children and children with limited opportunities shows great promise. The article describes the psychological and pedagogical conditions of transitioning the educational system to accepting this model of training of atypical children.
Keywords: children with disabilities, approaches to social adaptation, inclusive education, obstacle-free environment.
Sitarov Viacheslav Alekseevich, Doctor of Pedagogy, Professor and Chair, Department of the Pedagogy and Psychology of the Higher School, Moscow University for the Humanities. Postal address: 5 Yunosti St., Moscow, Russian Federation, 111395. Tel.: +7 (495) 374-74-59. E-mail:
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