In sub-Saharan Africa, there are few services for children with developmental disabilities such as autism and intellectual disability. One way to support these children is to include them in mainstream schools. However, currently, African children with developmental disabilities are often excluded from mainstream education opportunities. People involved (e.g. teachers, families and children) can offer information on factors that could ease or interfere with inclusion. This article discusses the findings of published studies that explored the views of relevant groups on including children with developmental disabilities in mainstream schools in sub-Saharan Africa. We systematically searched the literature and identified 32 relevant articles from seven countries in sub-Saharan Africa. We found that unclear policies and insufficient training, resources and support for teachers often blocked the implementation of inclusive education. Factors in favour of inclusive education were the commitment of many teachers to include pupils with developmental disabilities and the work of non-governmental organisations (NGOs), which provided resources and training. This review suggests that motivated teachers should be provided with appropriate training, resources and support for inclusive education, directly and by promoting the work of NGOs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1606-1625
Number of pages20
JournalAutism : the international journal of research and practice
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022


  • Africa South of the Sahara
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Child
  • Developmental Disabilities
  • Humans
  • Mainstreaming, Education
  • Qualitative Research


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