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Autism, it's almost like an entirely different species - with speaker Hannah Ware (RIPS seminar)

Room 107, School of Education (Building R19)
Social Sciences
Wednesday 6th February 2019 (13:00-14:00)
Download the date to your calendar (.ics file)

Dr Lila Kossyvaki


Research in Progress (RIPS) Seminar series 2019

'Autism, it's almost like an entirely different species': voices of children identified as having SEND learning in schools in England

Speaker: Hannah Ware from the University of Cambridge 

Young people identified as having special education needs (SEND) remain some of the most marginalised learners in the English education system. These young people are one of the most likely groups to face exclusion from school, and reports of bullying and discrimination are on the rise (DfE, 2017; UN 2017). Within research debates on education, the voices of those identified as having SEND remain on the margins. 

This presentation, based on an empirical PhD study undertaken in England, focuses on exploring the ways young people identified as having SEND describe themselves and experience belonging in different types of schools. An ethical and robustly inclusive methodology was developed to empower young people identified as having SEND to share their stories on their own terms. Embracing the potential of videovoice, self-portraiture and life-mapping as ethical, participatory and inclusive research methods, this study has captured multisensory narrative data. A story-telling case study was utilised (Bassey, 1999) through which to explore the experiences of young people situated in a mainstream, faith and special school in England. 

The stories told by the young people during the research are examined to show the ways in which they demonstrate a resistance to othering discourses in society through describing themselves and articulating their experiences of belonging. Despite the strong notion of a disabled identity within the literature, the young people within this research were very heterogeneous in the way they spoke about disability. Findings will also be presented on experiences of belonging through relationships; the female participants strongly spoke of a desire for romantic relationships, but remained ill prepared by the curriculum to embark upon these safely. 


Hannah Ware completed her Masters of Education in the ‘Management of Special Education in Developing Countries’ at the University of Birmingham in 2015. She is currently in her fourth year of her PhD at the University of Cambridge, exploring the ways in which children identified as having special educational needs and/or disabilities describe themselves and experience belonging. She is a trustee of a therapeutic-intervention charity in Cambridge and also works as a special educational practitioner for a community based educational organisation. 

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