Inclusive education for people with intellectual disabilities in the higher education sector: teaching methodologies and practices of translating rights into practice


  • Nicola Maxwell School of Applied Social Studies
  • Elaine O’Callaghan
  • Máire Leane



Article 24 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) forms the cornerstone of the right to “inclusive education”, outlining in subsection 1 that, States “shall ensure an inclusive education system at all levels” (2006).  The Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities states that inclusion “involves a process of systemic reform embodying changes and modifications in content, teaching methods, approaches, structures and strategies in education” (2016, [11]). However, this right to inclusive education has not been realised in any systematic way for students with Intellectual Disabilities in Higher Education (HE). This article will (1) explore the right to inclusive education for people with disability established under the CRPD (2) review existing research on pedagogies and practices for teaching students with Intellectual Disability in HE in Ireland, Canada, the US and Australia,  (3) describe an inclusive, rights-based programme for people with Intellectual Disability developed in an Irish university (UCC), and (4) argue that critical reflection, documentation and sharing of pedagogies and practices from rights-based programmes in HE is key to development and dissemination of practice insights in this emergent field of education.