Disability Studies in Inclusive Education


This innovative textbook, Disability Studies in Inclusive Education, aims to boost teachers' confidence in mainstream and special schools, enabling them to effectively engage with learners with disabilities in the classroom and address their diverse learning needs. It originates in the Disability Studies in Education (DSE) course initiated in 2017 in the Division of Disability Studies at the University of Cape Town (UCT) and was developed by the Including Disability in Education in Africa (IDEA) research unit. The DSE course development process prioritised inclusivity and active involvement from academics, teachers, parents, persons with disabilities, and community stakeholders, including NGOs. Through a consultative and co-design process, the course convenors brought together a diverse range of skills and expertise from scholars in Disability Studies and specialist educators proficient in reasonable accommodation for meeting the learning needs of learners with disabilities. This textbook is an outcome of that collaborative process. 

In the context of SDG4, which promotes quality, inclusive education for all, the textbook explores the challenges of equitable education through the lens of Disability Studies in education.  The authors discuss the impact of specific impairments on individuals and their learning, along with strategies for addressing these challenges through an enabling learning environment, incorporating curriculum adaptation and reasonable accommodation for learners with disabilities.  The textbook provides a foundational understanding of Disability Studies and its application in inclusive education. Relevant policy   is examined globally, with a focus on low- and middle-income countries from a decolonial perspective.  

Adopting the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework, the textbook provides a systematic approach to maximise flexibility in the curriculum, allowing all learners to flourish by choosing learning pathways that best suit them, to achieve their goals. The authors recognise that UDL alone is insufficient for ensuring full participation of learners with disabilities and emphasise the importance of reasonable accommodations tailored to the specific needs of learners with impairments as well as the importance of engaging families and communities in circles of care to support the learner. 

The Disability Studies in Inclusive Education textbook serves as a valuable resource for learners, teachers and teacher educators, either as part of a formal course or independently as needed. The design of the textbook adheres to UDL principles, with a strong focus on accessibility and interactive engagement, featuring links to video, further reading and other multimedia. Published under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license, this work can be freely hosted, reused, adapted, or translated by educators and learners in other contexts, on condition that proper attribution is given to the authors. 

This textbook was developed and published by the IDEA research unit in collaboration with the Digital Open Textbooks for Development initiative in the Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching at UCT. 

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  • Full Monograph
    Judith McKenzie , Kofi Nseibo, Chantal Samuels, Amani Karisa
  • Preliminary Pages
  • Section A: Disability as a social justice issue and recognition of disability experiences
  • Chapter 1
    Overview: Disability as a social justice issue and recognition of disability experiences
    Judith McKenzie , Brian Watermeyer
  • Chapter 2
    The emergence of Disability Studies: Disability as a social justice issue
    Brian Watermeyer
  • Chapter 3
    Exclusion of children with disabilities from education: Roots and responses
    Judith McKenzie
  • Section B: Tension between disciplines, critical examination of special and inclusive education and policies, and developing an inclusive school
  • Chapter 4
    Overview: Critical examination of special and inclusive education and policies enabling inclusive education
    Judith McKenzie
  • Chapter 5
    Understanding Disability Studies in Education
    Judith McKenzie , Danielle Cowley
  • Chapter 6
    Enabling inclusive education: Global policies and local enactment
    Judith McKenzie , Berenice Daniels
  • Section C: Connecting schools, families and communities, and decoloniality in Disability Studies in Education
  • Chapter 7
    Overview: Connecting schools, families and communities, and decoloniality in Disability Studies in Education
    Amani Karisa
  • Chapter 8
    Connecting schools, families and communities, and developing an inclusive school
    Brian Watermeyer, Rose-Anne Reynolds
  • Chapter 9
    Decoloniality, Disability Studies and parental involvement in the schooling of children with impairments
    Amani Karisa
  • Section D: Universal Design for Learning
  • Chapter 10
    Overview: Universal Design for Learning
    Elizabeth Dalton
  • Chapter 11
    Universal Design for Learning: UDL basics
    Elizabeth Dalton
  • Chapter 12
    Universal Design for Learning: UDL in practice
    Elizabeth Dalton
  • Section E: Hearing impairment
  • Chapter 13
    Overview: Hearing impairment and curriculum adaptation
    Jabaar Mohamed
  • Chapter 14
    The nature of hearing impairment and its impact on learning
    Vera-Genevey Hlayisi
  • Chapter 15
    Curriculum adaptation for children who are D/deaf or hard of hearing
    Emma McKinney
  • Section F: Visual impairment
  • Chapter 16
    Overview: Visual impairment
    Kofi Nseibo
  • Chapter 17
    The nature of visual impairment and its impact on learning
    Kofi Nseibo
  • Chapter 18
    Curriculum adaptation for learners with visual impairments
    Kofi Nseibo
  • Section G: Intellectual disability
  • Chapter 19
    Overview: Intellectual disability, impact on learning and learner support
    Chantal Samuels
  • Chapter 20
    The nature of intellectual disability and its impact on learning
    Chantal Samuels
  • Chapter 21
    Learning support, curriculum adaptation and human rights for learners with intellectual disabilities
    Chantal Samuels
  • Section H: Physical impairment
  • Chapter 22
    Overview: Physical impairment and classroom adaptation
    Dureyah Abrahams
  • Chapter 23
    The nature of physical impairment and its impact on learning
    Kofi Nseibo
  • Chapter 24
    Classroom adaptation for physically impaired learners
    Kofi Nseibo


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1 February 2024

Details about this monograph

Judith McKenzie (ed)
University of Cape Town
Kofi Nseibo (ed)
University of Cape Town
Chantal Samuels (ed)
University of Cape Town
Amani Karisa (ed)
University of Cape Town