Increasing our awareness of microaggressions in the educational context: An investigation into the experiences of Australian children with dyslexia and their parents

Presentation


Leslie, Rachel. 2022. "Increasing our awareness of microaggressions in the educational context: An investigation into the experiences of Australian children with dyslexia and their parents ." Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE) 2022 Annual Conference. Adelaide, South Australia 27 Nov - 01 Dec 2022 Australia. Australian Association for Research in Education.
Paper/Presentation Title

Increasing our awareness of microaggressions in the educational context: An investigation into the experiences of Australian children with dyslexia and their parents

Presentation TypePresentation
AuthorsLeslie, Rachel
Journal or Proceedings TitleProceedings of the Annual International Australian Association for Research in Education Conference 2022 (AARE 2022)
Year2022
PublisherAustralian Association for Research in Education
Place of PublicationAustralia
Web Address (URL) of Conference Proceedingshttps://www.aare.edu.au/news/save-the-date-aare-2022-annual-conference/
Conference/EventAustralian Association for Research in Education (AARE) 2022 Annual Conference
Event Details
Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE) 2022 Annual Conference
Delivery
In person
Event Date
27 Nov 2022 to end of 01 Dec 2022
Event Location
Adelaide, South Australia
Event Venue
University of South Australia
Event Web Address (URL)
Abstract

Growing literature exploring the presence of microaggressions with the school community has repercussions for not only children’s experience of education but the parent-school partnership as well. Microaggressions are seemingly innocuous interactions, however they have the power to both further marginalise vulnerable groups and to inflict harm on the individuals who are members of these groups. In a school setting, ableist microaggressions are of particular concern as current research has demonstrated that repeated exposure to microaggressions in an education context can impact negatively on the mental health of students. The roles that language choices and systemic environmental structures have in sustaining power differentials between able-bodied/neurotypical and disabled/neuro-diverse individuals are often taken for granted.

While there is a growing body of literature on ableist microaggressions in educational settings, the focus has been on higher education and secondary contexts. This insight has informed our understanding to date, yet knowledge of microaggressions in childhood is not as well established. This has limited both researchers and educators from having a more comprehensive appreciation of the scope of ableist microaggressions and constrained any education or prevention of microaggressions in the younger years. Given the link between cumulative microaggressions and poor mental health outcomes, it is timely that research focuses on the primary school years as a means of early intervention.

This presentation will draw on initial analysis of interviews with children with dyslexia and their parents that form part of a larger project. Through qualitative content analysis, the participants’ recollections of interactions in the primary school setting were uncovered to determine the presence of previously identified domains of ableist microaggressions. Early findings illustrate how microaggressions transpire through formal and informal communication, and describe the perceived impact on both students with dyslexia and their parents. In addition to this, new and emerging domains that impact parents through vicarious and adjacent experiences were identified.

The significance of these findings has implications for research, policy and practice. A greater understanding of microaggressions towards dyslexic primary students would assist researchers to better understand the contributors to the high correlation between a diagnosis of dyslexia and poorer mental health and academic outcomes. It is intended that the findings from this study will have significant implications for the practices of teachers seeking to develop more inclusive classrooms for all students, including those with dyslexia, and inform policy on parent-school partnerships with parents of dyslexic children.

KeywordsDyslexia, Microaggressions, Disability Experience
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020399999. Other education not elsewhere classified
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Byline AffiliationsUniversity of Southern Queensland
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