Background: Inclusive education refers to the practice of educating children with intellectual disabilities in regular and special classes in a mainstream school environment (Westwood 1997). International and national policies on inclusive education has promoted its importance for individuals with a range of intellectual disabilities (UDHR 1948, UNESCO 1994).
Research Aim: To explore the published literature on the barriers to inclusive education for children with severe to profound intellectual disabilities (ID).
Search Strategy: Literature was sourced using a range of electronic databases. In addition a hand search was completed to locate additional articles. In total 18 articles were chosen for use in the literature review. Research conducted within the articles was both qualitative and quantitative. Through analysis of the literature three common themes were established.
• Attitudes: Studies were completed on individual groups in society. Overall a positive view on inclusion was found throughout the majority of research. Attitudes differed due to variables of those included in the study such as age, gender and experience.
• Resources: Although Government Acts discuss the provision of resources for children with SEN many were not sufficient. Staffing issues were highlighted as a major issue for inclusion.
• Holistic Approach: Much of the research conducted was based on children with mild to moderate ID. Little research is conducted on those with severe to profound ID. A missing link between healthcare and education was debated across much of the literature.
Conclusion: Overall positive views on inclusion were found across the majority of literature. Simple barriers to inclusion are often detrimental to children with severe to profound disabilities. Additional research carried out with children with severe to profound disabilities is essential to evaluating inclusive education. Further research is required into the role of the Nurse in inclusive education.