Supporting Children with Disabilities in Low- and Middle- Income Countries: Promoting Inclusive Practice within Community-Based Childcare Centres in Malawi through a Bioecological Systems Perspective

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McLinden M. et al (2018) ‘Supporting Children with Disabilities in Low- and Middle- Income Countries: Promoting Inclusive Practice within Community-Based Childcare Centres in Malawi through a Bioecological Systems Perspective’ International Journal of Early Childhood 50.2: pp 159–174.

Given the narrow scope and conceptualisation of inclusion for young children with disabilities in research within low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) contexts, we draw on a bioecological systems perspective to propose the parameters for a broader unit of analysis. This perspective situates human development within a specific cultural context in which family, peers and schooling are regarded as key in responding to young children with disabilities in a given setting. We outline a new bioecological model to illustrate the proximal and distal factors that can influence inclusive early development for children with disabilities within LMICs. To illustrate the relevance of this model to early child development research, we consider its application, as a conceptual framework, with reference to a research study in Malawi. The study was designed to promote greater inclusive practice for young children with disabilities in Community-Based Childcare Centres (CBCCs) with a particular focus on the role of the CBCC volunteer ‘caregiver’ in rural Malawi. It has significance for educators, service providers and researchers concerned with facilitating inclusive early development across national boundaries and contexts.