Involving parents in the education of visually impaired children : A case of Lions Basic School for the visually impaired

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Ndhlovu, Daniel
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Involving parents in the education of their children with visual impairment is an important aspect in the learning process for these children. Available research shows that the first responsibility for educating a child rests with parents and thereafter it becomes a shared responsibility with the school. Consistent with the ecological system theory, development of a child is facilitated when there are linkages between school and home. However, records of meetings at Lions basic school for the visually impaired showed that parents were not involved in the education of their children. This study therefore, sought to find out why parents were not involved and how they could be involved in the education of their children with visual impairment at Lions basic school for the visually impaired. The study followed a descriptive research design. Qualitative and quantitative research methods were used in the study. A total of seventy-five parents and seven teachers participated in the study. Simple random sampling technique was used to select the sample for the study. This technique was chosen because it provided each element in the population an equal chance to be selected as a study sample. Questionnaires were used to collect data from the respondents. In questions requiring a parent or a teacher to indicate the degree of agreement or disagreement, a likert scale was used. Scheduled structured interview method was used to collect data. The data was analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) in order to obtain frequencies and percentages. Qualitative data was organized in common themes and quantitative data in tables, bar graphs and pie charts. The findings of the study revealed that breakdown of trust between parents and teachers, lack of skill in reading and writing materials in braille, self accusation due to the belief that disability of children was a result of sins of their parents,belief that education of children with visual impairment was not parents' responsibility but of government and teachers were major reasons for noninvolvement of parents in the education of their children. In addition, long distance between school and parents' residences, financial problems, lack of invitation and sensitization to school activities were cited as other reasons for non-involvement of parents in education of their children with visual impairment. Despite the many reasons given by parents for their non-involvement in education of their children, the study established beyond reasonable doubt that it was possible for parents to be involved in the education of their children. Most parents and teachers were very willing to work together. In addition, teachers were willing to teach braille to parents and most parents were willing to learn to read and write materials in braille. Parents were also willing to be involved in PTA meetings, decision making process concerning their children, pupils' work, cost sharing ventures and in providing information on their children. Based on the findings, the study recommended that teachers should educate parents on the benefits of being involved in the education of their children. It was also recommended that teachers help parents to understand and appreciate the method of reading loudly to children in order to build the knowledge required by children for eventual success in reading. In addition, parents needed to be educated on the causes of disabilities in order to demystify the belief that the disability in children was a result of sins of parents.
Children, Blind , Visually handicapped children , Education -- Parent participation , Vision disorders in Children