As a small child, in answer to the question ‘where are we going?’ my Dad would invariably respond with ‘there and back to see how far it is’. These few words and the sense of mystery evoked have been vividly recalled as I have undertaken my greatest journey to date, the record of which is detailed in this thesis. There are many people whose direction, advice, support and contributions have proved invaluable along the way.
In particular I would like to thank: my supervisors Dr Jean Ware and Dr Ray Crozier, for all their help, encouragement, advice and patience over the past four years; Páid McGee and my colleagues in the Special Education Department of St Patrick’s College, Drumcondra who have been a constant source of support, motivation, grammatical knowledge, Irish saints’ names and above all else, chocolate biscuits and also Gerry, Roberto and Bernard [the college night security guards] for putting up with my unsociable working hours.
Bríd and Ann-Marie, who are patience personified, deserve a special mention for managing to share an office with me and never complaining (at least not in my earshot) and I must also thank Ann-Marie for conducting the audit trail. An extra big thank-you is reserved for Celine, whose patience and formatting skills are unequalled.
This research was funded by an ESRC studentship, award number R00429834493 and would not have been possible without the help of the many teachers, headteachers, principals and pupils involved and I offer them my heartfelt thanks.
My friends and family have provided me with immense support over the years and I wish to thank them all, in particular the Torquay ladies Becky, Emma L, Emma P, Joelle, Penny, Ruth, Sam, Tracey and Wendy; everyone from Cardiff especially Jane, Jo, Kirsty, Lena, Matt, Phil and Vern; my very own Irish family Elisa, David and Josh, and last but not least the members of DCU Canoe Club who first introduced me to the true meaning of Irish hospitality.
Finally I wish to thank my parents, Robert and Sylvia, my big brother Jonathan and my little sister Abigayle, who shared in those first trips ‘there and back to see how far it is’ and whose unfailing support has been a constant comfort over the past four years.
“We shall not cease from exploration
and the end of our exploring
will be to arrive where we started
and know the place for the first time” T.S.Eliot, Little Gidding
Source: PhD in Psychology of Special Education, Cardiff University: Curriculum and provision for pupils with profound and multiple learning disabilities.