Children with mental disabilities have always been discriminated against and were often considered among the minority groups that experienced marginalization in many societies throughout history. Ableism is one form of discrimination, which is the discrimination against people with disabilities because of the type of disability they have. Like in most societies, in Egypt, the problem is compounded, as children not only experience ableism, but also adultism. This thesis will investigate those combined modes of discrimination against children with mental disabilities. The educational system is regarded as part and parcel of the society as a whole, and they are both interconnected and intertwined. On the other hand, they are not synonymous to one another. The marginalization of children with disabilities from the Egyptian educational system is not a recent issue, and policies were formed in order to tackle this problem. In my research I would like to understand whether the children with disabilities were marginalized from the educational system because of its rigidity, lack of resources, and inability to accommodate for including diverse learners? OR their marginalization from the educational system was a result of being segregated from the Egyptian society as a whole, due to other societal factors? And whether inclusion (including children with disabilities in the same classrooms with children without disabilities) would address the issue of their marginalization from the educational system and/or the society, or not? I would also like to investigate the issue of the marginalization of children with disabilities from the educational system in Egypt through understanding the attitudes of mothers, teachers and disability professionals. In this thesis, I would like to assess the experiment of inclusion from the point of view of the main actors involved in it, through investigating the opinions of mothers of children with disabilities, mothers of children without disabilities, teachers in special education, language and mainstream schools, professionals and activists, and examine the societal factors influencing the formation of their attitudes.

Degree Name

MA in Sociology-Anthropology

Graduation Date


Submission Date

May 2016

First Advisor

Rizzo, Helen

Committee Member 1

Saad, Reem

Committee Member 2

Nosseir, Nazek


165 p.

Document Type

Master's Thesis


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Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval

Approval has been obtained for this item


Acknowledgment Without you, I would not be the person I am … Thank you for believing in me, and pushing me forward Fathia Khalil, my mother Alaa El-Zouhairy, my father My number one supporter, and the person who always has big dreams for the both of us… Ahmed Boghdady, my husband My very precious professors who make dreams come true… Helen Rizzo, Reem Saad, Nazek Nosseir, Heba Kotb, Munira Khayyat and Hala Abdel-Hak Life would not have been the same without each and every one of you… Layla, Malak, Mai, Nada, Sara, Safaa, Iman, Yomna, Yasmine, Amy, Dina and Norhan