A sense of belonging at school can make a huge difference. The latest issue paper released by Children with Disability Australia has examined a series of key issues with research demonstrating that students with a sense of belonging and connection experienced a more positive school life. A number of factors that influenced this were friendship, peer acceptance, capability, being valued and supportive relationships with key adults.
Other elements to emerge from the research paper showed that when these were threatened the impact can result in limited friendships with students, loneliness and a controlled access to school areas along with tensions in negotiating support relationships. There is also a feeling of exclusion with any strengths going unrecognised by other students and adults. Bullying is also a strong threat.
The paper, Belonging and Connection of School Students with Disability, was written by Dr Sally Robinson and Julia Truscott.