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The aim with this study was to examine in what amount disabled children in South Africa can live a participating life in society, with focus on special needs schools and their capability to empower the children. The data material has been collected through eight qualitative interviews, and observations at seven special needs schools in the country. Through my result I have distinguished three main roads to empower the children: First, to analyze social structures, secondly, to gain knowledge and awareness, and thirdly, to strengthen the children’s self-esteem. I have also analyzed the structural barriers that are hindering disabled children to participate, and illustrated this by describing social policies and their effect on special needs schools in South Africa.

children with disabilities,  Schools,  South Africa,  participation,  empowerment,  disabled children,  special needs schools,  disability,