Teachers’ Perceptions of Disabilities on the Island of Roatán, Honduras

Cornelia Schneider


Purpose: Roatán, a small island in Honduras, is home to six ethnic groups. Due to financial constraints, many children have limited access to schooling. This article is a study on teachers’ perceptions of disabilities and students with disabilities and inclusive education on the island.

Method: Twenty seven teachers working in public and private schools, and schools funded by the World Bank, were interviewed in March-April of 2014 in order to explore cultural and social representations of disabilities on the island.

Results: The findings show that many of the teachers’ representations can be analysed under the lens of different models of disability - the medical model, the social model, and a religious-moral model. Inclusive education is perceived less as a means of including children with disabilities in the regular classroom, and more as a method of creating institutions to take care of their needs.

Conclusion: There is a strong intersection of poverty, post-colonialism and disability which makes working under an inclusive lens very difficult for teachers. The cultural norms influence ideas of normalcy and disabilities, and the blame is on parents for having children with disabilities.


Disabilities; inclusion; models of disability; poverty

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5463/dcid.v28i2.573

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