Exploring the educational experiences of children and young people with non-syndromic cleft lip and or palate in the west of Scotland

Giffen, Alicia Marion (2017) Exploring the educational experiences of children and young people with non-syndromic cleft lip and or palate in the west of Scotland. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Historically, society has developed and presented the concept of ‘disability’ in negative
terms. This in turn led to the identification of individuals/groups with some medical
conditions as ‘different’ from the general population. However, this theory has more
recently been challenged by the narrative of inclusion which has contributed to questioning
the term ‘difference’ and has replaced it with ‘diversity’.
Young people with cleft have previously been identified in society by their ‘difference’
due to speech and appearance issues. Existing literature, largely from medical
professionals, suggested that young people with cleft underachieve. Studies to date have
been mainly carried out using quantitative methods. These investigations suggested a
number of areas of challenge – primarily linguistic, cognitive, self-concept and concerning
the expectations of others. In contrast, this research set out to attempt to understand more
deeply the reasons for the suggested underachievement using qualitative research methods
to explore the social and educational lives of young people with cleft at three different
stages in their development.
This research found that the narrative of underachievement among the young people with
cleft involved in the study did not follow the pattern expected as it emerged from the
medical literature. Overall individuality characterised the learning trajectory of the young
people with cleft. All young people were making progress in their learning albeit at their
own speed and as appropriate, with support. The experiences of learning at
clubs/associations was more inclusive than those at school where no support was required
and there were different expectations of adults supporting learning in clubs and schools.
Labelling was a contentious issue but in individual cases this had negative consequences
which were counterbalanced by friendship circles often formed at nursery school. This
study highlighted teachers’ lack of knowledge of this medical condition and its potential
consequences for educational experiences in individual cases and a lack of interpersonal
and inter-agency communication.

This study therefore challenges the deeply integrated societal stereotypes of young people
with cleft. It highlights the importance of listening to children’s voices and offers
suggestions to both educational and medical professionals for improving the experiences of
the young people concerned.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: cleft lip and palate, cleft palate only, child-centred, inter-agency working, progress in learning.
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
L Education > LC Special aspects of education
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Education
Supervisor's Name: Hayward, Professor E. Louise
Date of Award: 2017
Depositing User: Miss Alicia M Giffen
Unique ID: glathesis:2017-8581
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 06 Nov 2017 16:23
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2017 11:39
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/8581

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