Parents’ Capabilities and Societal Attitudes - Influencing Variables Regarding Equal Access to Education of Children with Disabilities in Vienna
In Austria, the issue is no longer whether children with disabilities (CWD) have access to education but rather, if they have equal access to inclusive education. In principle, parents can choose between inclusive and segregated school settings, however, this choice is not always without restrictions (Feyerer 2009). At the same time, school placement is an important factor that may facilitate or hinder CWDs’ participation in further education and employment (Powell, 2003). Preliminary results of field research in Vienna within the CLASDISA project show that the availability of different school settings, attitudes of school administrators and teachers, as well as parent characteristics strongly shape the options to choose a school. For example, the ability to seek relevant information as well as the capability to fight for one’s rights against biased attitudes and rigid hierarchical structures are reported to be necessary parent attributes in order to obtain placement in the school of their choice. Also, research shows that social access in schools can be facilitated by more flexible time schedules, by providing meeting places for children as well as by offering leisure time, which children can use according to their own interests.