There is an underrepresentation of individuals with disabilities in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Given the importance of diversity to achieve an evolving society, increasing the representation of individuals with disabilities in STEM post-secondary education and careers is essential. One way that this can be accomplished is by incorporating the voices of youth students with disabilities in discourse about STEM education. Specifically, my study focuses on incorporating students with learning disabilities’ (LDs) voices in science education discourse by exploring their perspectives about their science learning. To approach this research, I conducted a phenomenological study where I interviewed seven students in grade eight with LDs from a secondary school in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The following research question guided my study: (1) What are students with LDs’ perspectives on their science learning? Findings indicated that participants consider science learning to be important and necessary for their future regardless of their interest in further pursuing STEM fields. Moreover, students shared that science learning can occur in various ways in and out of the science class. These findings based on students’ perspectives can inform educational stakeholders (e.g., principals, teachers, parents) on the most effective strategies to use to support students with LDs in their science learning to further encourage them to pursue science fields in the future. In turn, this can increase the representation of individuals with disabilities in STEM disciplines.
Cinzia Di Placido, McGill University, Canada