Parental involvement in individualised educational programmes for children with intellectual disabilities in selected special schools in Lusaka district

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Chisembe, Maureen
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The University of Zambia
This study investigated parental awareness in individualized educational programmes and the extent of parental involvement in the Individualised Educational Programmes for children with intellectual disabilities with particular attention to selected Special Schools in Lusaka district., In addition the study further investigated factors that affect parental involvement in Individualised Educational Programmes in special schools of Lusaka and established the benefits of Individualised Educational Programmes in special schools in Lusaka. A descriptive research design was used which involved Qualitative methods. A sample of fifty (50) participants was drawn from two (2) selected special schools and three (3) units in the mainstream. The sample comprised of 50 respondents of which thirty (30) were parents. five (5) senior teacher selected one from each selected school five (5) head teachers and ten (10) specialist teachers, from each of the two(2) selected special and three (3) units. Head teachers, specialist teachers and parents of children with intellectual disabilities were selected purposively. Data was collected using a self-administered semi- questionnaires, interview guides and Focus Group Discussions. Qualitative data was analysed thematically. This involved qualitative coding and categorizing of data to generate to themes which were presented descriptively. The findings of the study revealed that parents were not fully involved in the Individualised Educational Programmes in special schools. Eleven parents registered ignorance of the programmes. The factors that affected parental involvement in individualised Educational Programmes were communication barriers between school administrators and parents, parents busy work schedules not being invited to Individualised Educational meetings, school administrators imposed on parents In addition, language barriers by some parents, level of education background of parents, belief by some parents not to interfere with teachers’ work and lack of collaboration between parents and specialist teachers. The Benefits of Individualised Educational Programmes established in the study included, parents easily following the progress of the children in school, teachers easily getting help from parents and children reaching educational goals more easily, a tailor made programmes that suited the needs of children and allowing parents to incorporate other needed therapies such as speech therapy as part of the students’ school programme. Based on the findings these recommendations made were (1) Ministry of General Education should come up with a national policy in IEP (2)Sensitize specialist teachers not to use terms that are ambiguous during the meetings (3) Special schools administrators should ensure meeting days are held on days or times that are convenient to parents (5)The Ministry of General Education should come up with more policies to provide frame works for monitoring IEP Head teachers, specialist teachers and parents should be sensitized on IEP so that the levels of awareness in IEP increase.
Children with disabilities--Education--Zambia , Intellectual disabilities--Parents role--Education--Zambia