Photo: Bob Dmyt

Participation for All? (PAL)

Research project
Active research
Project period
2016 - 2021
Project owner
The Department of Education and Special Education, University of Gothenburg

The Swedish Research Council

Short description

School and post-school pathways of young people with functional disabilities. A recently published report from the UN presents alarming information regarding the situation of the disabled in Sweden. For instance, a 100 percent increase in unemployment and a dramatic increase of suicide rates are reported for the functionally disabled in Sweden since 2008. As compared to individuals without disabilities, young people with functional disability are less represented both within higher education and the labor market in Sweden. The situation in other countries for this group is mixed.

School and post-school pathways of young people with functional disabilities.


About the project

The Participation for All (PAL) project focus is upon the schooling and the post-school situation of two groups of young people: young people who are deaf and those with ADHD. Major demographic changes have taken place in these two groups in Sweden since the turn of the century, with significant implications to their educational pathways in schools and transitions to post-school phases: nearly all deaf toddlers receive cochlear implants (advanced hearing aids that are surgically implanted into the inner ear), and the number of children identified with ADHD has increased dramatically. While both groups have started leaving upper-secondary schools today, no systematic studies have focused upon the school and post-school situation of these groups in Sweden. The overarching concern in the PAL project is to generate knowledge that can contribute to enhancing the life spheres of people with functional disability.

This project aims to (i) map the current school placements for children and young people with two types of functional disabilities, FD, in Sweden, (ii) study and identify key factors that enable a successful and meaningful transition to adulthood for the groups focused, as well as (iii) identify successful criteria for transition to adulthood for young people with FD in general as well as the two focused groups specifically based on a synthesis of international and Swedish research.

Research questions

The following research questions will be attended to in this unique mixed-methods project:

  • What types of schools – segregated, mainstreamed, hybrid facilities – are these groups in, in the 21st century?
  • How have these young people been prepared for transitions to adulthood during their school careers?
  • What is documented with regards to special support within different societal sectors (school, rehabilitation, non-governmental organizations [NGO’s], etc) for these groups?
  • How do these young people envisage their future life spheres?
  • How do key adults in their lives view the young people’s life opportunities?
  • What gender patterns can be identified with regards to these questions within and across the two groups?

The project will throw light on transitions by conducting case studies of 40 young people in the age group of 18-30 years from the two groups in focus. In addition, the project will map the current demographics of these two groups in the school landscape in Sweden.

Sub projects

In order to create a nuanced understanding of the ways in which young people enter adulthood the PAL will consist of the following three sub-projects:

Sub-project 1: map the present school location of these two groups in Sweden

Sub-project 2: collect existing documents from schools, rehabilitation, the employment office, parental organizations and other NGO’s, home pages, blogs, etc, and interview the young people and key people in their environment;

Sub-project 3: conduct a systematic meta-study of existing international and Swedish research in order to identity successful criteria for transition for young people in Sweden and elsewhere.

Project members

Sangeeta Bagga-Gupta, Project Leader, Professor, School of Education and Communication, Jönköping University

Eva Hjörne, Professor, University of Gothenburg

Ingela Holmström, Senior Lecturer, Department of Linguistics, Stockholm University

Johan Malmqvist, School of Education and Communication, Jönköping University

Giulia Messina Dahlberg, Senior Lecturer, School of Health and Education, University of Skövde

Shruti Taneja Johansson, Senior Lecturer, University of Gothenburg