Eur J Pediatr Surg 1992; 2: 29-34
DOI: 10.1055/s-2008-1063496
Original article

© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Factors Affecting the School Placement of Children with Spina Bifida

C.M. A. Wasson1 , C. M. Bannister2 , G.  Stellman Ward3
  • 1Medical School, University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PL, U.K
  • 2Department of Neurosurgery Booth Hall Children's Hospital, Charlestown Rd., Blackley, Manchester M9 2AA, U.K
  • 3Department of Clinical Psychology, Booth Hall Children's Hospital, Charlestown Rd., Blackley, Manchester M9 2AA, U.K
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
19 May 2008 (online)


Integrating children with disabilities into mainstream schools has been an active policy in Britain since the 1981 Education Act. 26 children with spina bifida, 13 of whom were educated in mainstream schools, and 13 in special schools were assessed to clarify the relative importance of the following factors 1) IQ, 2) Mobility, 3) Hand function, 4) Bladder and bowel function, and 5) Behaviour. A marked difference was found between those attending mainstream and special schools. 11/13 of the former attained scores within the normal range as compared to only 2/13 of the latter. Neither mobility nor hand function alone were found to influence school placement and a marked correlation was found between the two. Whilst those educated in special schools had more marked problems, all children functioned poorly compared with the norms for able-bodied peers. Neither bladder nor bowel incontinence hindered attendance at mainstream school, but faecal soiling was considered the more serious problem. The frequency of behavioural problems showed a similar distribution amongst the two groups.

Comments from parents highlighted their reservations about both special and mainstream schooling which indicates the policy for integration needs considerably more commitment from Government and Education Authorities in order to succeed.