Four children with Williams Syndrome shared their daily experiences of attending a mainstream primary school in the South West of England, UK. Using an adaptation of the Mosaic approach (Clark, 2011), children shared their perceptions and experiences of belonging to a class, developing responsibility and learning to follow the rules. Children guided the researcher during a visit lasting one week in each school. Methods included videos, a child-led tour, photographs and interviews with staff. Informed consent was obtained by gatekeepers including children’s parents, head teacher and school staff. Children were continually monitored for assent using a reflective, ethically conscious total communication approach. Findings show close relationships with practitioners were essential for supporting child centred inclusion for children with disabilities. Outside the classroom the space was more open and supportive for practitioners to recognize, respect and respond to children's own paces. Whilst children are included inside the classroom, practitioners provide a safe space that celebrates children’s own priorities and paces outside of the classroom. This study highlights the need for settings to facilitate space based on Elkind’s (2006) unhurried approach. Teaching assistants play a significant role in supporting children and staff, by developing knowledge of both the child and the disability through close, responsive working with children. Implications for practice indicate staff would benefit from WS specific knowledge and training as well as strategic school inclusion practices to enable staff to share their knowledge-from-experience with class teachers.

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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.