PUBLIC HEALTH- HEALTH PROMOTION: HOW CAN THE MENTAL WELL-BEING OF CHILDREN WITH IMPAIRED COMMUNICATION SKILLS BE PROMOTED IN MAINSTREAM SCHOOLS FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF PARENTS/CARERS?

PUBLIC HEALTH- HEALTH PROMOTION: HOW CAN THE MENTAL WELL-BEING OF CHILDREN WITH IMPAIRED COMMUNICATION SKILLS BE PROMOTED IN MAINSTREAM SCHOOLS FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF PARENTS/CARERS? 150 150 Affordable Capstone Projects Written from Scratch

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PUBLIC HEALTH- HEALTH PROMOTION: HOW CAN THE MENTAL WELL-BEING OF CHILDREN WITH IMPAIRED COMMUNICATION SKILLS BE PROMOTED IN MAINSTREAM SCHOOLS FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF PARENTS/CARERS?

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Chapter 4: Findings

Introduction

The study aimed at describing how the mental well-being of children with impaired communication skills is promoted in mainstream schools from the perspective of parents/carers

. The experiences of the participants informed the recommendations for the schools in dealing with the children with impaired communication skills. The objective was to listen to each participant’s point of view, practices, experiences, and opinions. Thematic qualitative design approach guided the analysis of the results. The four research questions formed the background of the themes. The questions include:

  • What are theparents’ perspectives regarding the challenges their children face in the context of mainstream education?
  • What arethe perspectives of the parents regarding the facilitators and inhibitors of their child mental wellbeing in school?
  • What do the parents consider helpful in the mental well-being of their
  • children?
  • Which recommendations for schools to improve the mental well-being of children with impaired communication skills in mainstream education?

During the data collection process, five participants responded to the invitation to participate in this study. The five respondents include parents with at least one child with impaired communication skill. The interview questions followed directly from primary research questions and were administered to all the five participants. The interviewees provided information aimed at addressing the research questions.

Themes

A theme refers to a pattern capturing something interesting or important concerning a given data or research question (Maguire and Delahunt 2017, p.3352). The two types of thematic analysis include semantic and latent analysis. Semantic entails surface or superficial meanings of the data.Appendix 3. The interview schedule which were mainly open-ended questions was prepared to aid the researcher with the structure of the interview. It began with questions to ascertain the contextual circumstances that may affect the participants’ perspectives. The data that is generated is then used to address the research aim and objectives. The purpose of this was to conduct an in-depth exploration that results in data that comes as close as possible to accurately describing the participant’s actual experience and perspective on a given subject (Gary, 2017). While the main twelve questions were worded similarly for all participants, they did not follow the specified order and the interviewer had the discretion to change the wording or add further questions as necessary to come to a complete understanding of the participant’s point of view (Bryman, 2015), while building rapport with the participant (Smith and Osborne, 2002). Questions about the child’s grade level, educational environment, and special needs resources serve to validate the participants as meeting the inclusion/exclusion criteria.

One to one interviews were held at convenient times and locations that best suited each participant. Interviews lasted an average time of 40 minutes. Before the start of each interview participants were given the opportunity to decide if they wanted the interview to be recorded by signing a consent form. All interviews were audio recorded using a dictaphone device to allow transcription for data analysis.

3.3 Sampling procedure/ recruitment

In choosing the sample of participants a combination of purposive and snowball sampling procedure was used to recruit five parents of children with impaired communication skills. Two of the participants were chosen to provide retrospective accounts and three were chosen to give prospective accounts of their experience. Purposive sampling is appropriate when the aim is to gather data from a population that is underrepresented in research (Bryman, 2015). It also allows for the selection of a homogenous sample, which is desirable for thematic analysis which seeks to find common experiences among a closely defined sample; the recommended sample size for a student research project is five or six (Smith and Osborne, 2002). Snowball sampling is especially useful when trying to locate participants that are hard to find (Warwick-Booth et al., 2012). For instance, in purposive sampling the recruitment of participants was undertaken in primary schools and play centre. These facilities were chosen because it is accessed by the type of participants needed to address the research question, however this was dependent on the support of the head teacher which could pose a potential challenge. Hence the snowball method being particularly useful to mitigate problems of recruitment with the purposive sampling. Nevertheless, the selection of participants who know each other may raise issue of bias and lead to misrepresentation of samples (Dragan and Isaic-Maniu, 2013).

To recruit participants permission was obtained from the head of 4 primary school and 3 play centres in the North of England to place recruitment posters on parents’ information boards for advertisement. The researcher also recruited participants through recommendations to find suitable people. Interested individuals received an information letter (participant information sheet: appendix 1) face to face or attached to a recruitment email (appendix 2) which explained the purpose and nature of the study (Gary, 2017).  They responded to the Inclusion/exclusion criteria which included: the parent is at least 18 years old; they have a child with a diagnosis of impaired communication skills who is educated in a mainstream educational environment at the primary level; and the child does not have a psychiatric disorder. This is to ensure that parents’ suggestions specifically address needs related to impaired communication skills, uncomplicated with other serious problems. The researcher made an appointment at the participant’s convenience, at which time the participants signed a written consent form prior to commencement of the interview (Gary, 2017).

3.4 Data analysis

Interview transcripts were analysed using the method of thematic analysis as outlined by Smith and Osborne (2002).  The method of thematic analysis is ideal when the goal is to explore subjective experiences of a phenomenon because it is based on the participant’s own experience (Smith et al., 2009). Thematic analysis follows an inductive reasoning to closely describe the participants’ points of view rather than imposing a theoretical framework onto the data (Smith et al., 2009). As the aim of this study is to obtain the emic or inside perspectives of parents/carers, other analytical methods such as content and discourse analysis that impose the researchers’ theoretical perspective would not be appropriate.

The systematic method as described by Smith and Osborne (2002) includes the following steps taken by the researcher: (1) read the transcripts several times, taking notes on salient words or phrases and emerging themes; (2) made a preliminary list of themes and the relationships among them; (3) constructed a table of themes; (4) used the table in analysing additional cases, revising the table as needed; and (5) constructed a final table of superordinate themes. The transcripts were reviewed to look for disconfirming cases, or data that did not fit with the table of themes. The table 1 in the appendix shows the codes.

The responses were checked for grammar and spelling while maintaining the intended meaning. Five themes were identified in the analysis using NVivo 12 software; they include challenges, facilitators of mental well-being, inhibitors of psychological well-being, possible solutions (suggestions) and responsibilities.

Theme 1: Challenges Communication Impaired Children Face

The five participants with students currently in the mainstream school or those who had gone through the system resulted in the identification of four challenges which include inadequate resources, lack of qualifications, societal barriers, and bullying. First, mainstream schools have limited access to resources needed for the communication skill challenged children. The funds come from local or the central government. The participants pointed to the following concerns:

They gave him the same toys to play with every day; then I think he is not learning because they are repeating the same thing from when they moved him over from reception… building blocks and cars the school has nothing to provide for him (Participant 1). They gave him the same toys to play with every day; then I think he is not learning because they are repeating the same thing from when they moved him over from reception… building blocks and cars the school has nothing to provide for him (Participant 3).

Second, the teachers in the schools have little qualifications and attitude to handle special need children.

There are no specialists to help my son at the school, so I think it is complicated to address the challenges that my son has with his autism. Even the people at the school said to me we don’t have much idea about autism. The mainstream school don’t have the facilities, capabilities or the trained teachers and then not being included with the other children (Participant 1). None of the teachers couldn’t deal with it. None of them knew how to calm him at least down and talk to him. At first, the primary school did not know what to do, that’s how they referred him to a psychologist. Then there was a specific teacher he said when they ask a question, and he raised his hands and some of the word the way he was pronouncing it, the teacher would laugh and say something in front of the whole class, and that used to make him feel very bad (Participant 4). The school is very limited in their knowledge and experience of special educational needs (Participant 5).

Third, the society has perceptions on children with disabilities and the structures put in place disadvantage them.

What I see is a social model of health playing out, it’s not necessarily Chloe’s deafness that’s the issue with the speech and language it’s societal barriers that stop her. (Participant 2). Generally speaking, segregating people with different needs doesn’t help how the society deals with the difference, and it doesn’t prepare them for Life in the real world. Some schools can be actively hostile. The minute you start to say she is doing well and all the things we’re doing are working; the funding gets reduced or withdrawn (Participant 5).

The final challenge reported by the interviewees was bullying and ill-treatment from other children.

She was also bullied at school, and I believe that that was part of it. She was being bullied in school because they were saying she was overweight (Participant 3). In primary school being bullying by other kids affected him. When they were out in the playground kids would call him names and the will say things to him like if he goes to the teacher they will not talk to him, they will not be his friend, so because of that, he was not speaking out (Participant 4).

Analysis of Challenges in Mainstream Schools

The parent’s reports on their impaired children given the same play toys imply the mainstream schools do not have the resources needed for the exceptional student’s. From the perspective of the parents, children do not learn anything new thus contributing to slow development. Also, in some schools, the impaired students are secluded in a separate room. Children learn through interactions and copying others. Therefore, as participant one conclude, mainstream school are not fit for their children with communication impairment.

Moreover, the schools have little workstations for the students. The interpretation derived from such sentiments from parent’s point to the crowding and excess number of children per class. This concern may imply that the teacher to student ration in the mainstream schools is low.

The second concern raised by the parents in the results section was a low level of qualification or skills to handle special need children in mainstream schools. The learning institutions need at least one psychologist, student counselor and a teacher trained on special needs. Every parent would want their child to behave normally and attend a normal school as his/her peers. However, this may not be the case for some parents; therefore, they are faced with the dilemma of choosing between mainstream and special school. In the case of the parents who have their children currently in primary (Participant 1, 2, and 4) they point to the realisation of the teachers not having a basic qualification in special needs. They confessed that they do not have any idea of how to deal with autism. Conversely, those whose children had gone through primary school (Participant 3 and 5), they realised at a later stage that the child was suffering from a communication inability. If for example, the schools had a teacher trained on special needs or a psychologist the condition would have been identified early.

The third issue raised was a societal barrier (including bullying) which disadvantage children with disability in mainstream schools specifically in primary school. Participant 5 narrates that the child got a lot of support while in primary school than while in secondary. However, the counterparts who currently have impaired children in the primary level hope that things will be better once the child joins higher levels of education. The anticipation may be pegged to the fact that the peers will have grown and had a sense of understanding on the condition of their impaired counterparts. However, in secondary school, the communication-challenged students are likely to have a rough stay due to bullying which is a common event as pointed out by participant 3.  Moreover, the social model of health playing out in most mainstream schools because the impaired are segregated and excluded from daily activities.

Theme 2: Facilitators of Mental Well-Being

Mental well-being refers to have a balance between what happens in the real world and how an individual perceives the happenings. The analysis resulted in the identification of three processes that promote the mental well-being of the communication impaired children in mainstream schools. The aspects include identification and application of alternative methods of communication, inclusion (mixing them with other children), and financial or technological support.

First, the children at a certain point need help to communicate with each other. The schools recommend various methods as pointed out by the participants.

She gave me that Makaton to deal with him, she said if you want to see him for example, apple, show him the picture of the apple and try to repeat it (Participant 1). They want to get Chloe to do Makaton which is like a sign language, and it’s great if the whole class is doing it (Participant 2). They played a lot of games with her the language games, that would also build up her confidence (Participant 3).

Second, segregation does not work. Therefore, the schools attempt to include all the students in every activity including sharing classes.

She’s in school, she is like the other kids, and you know she will have one to one support or small group support, and that’s fantastic (participant 2). They were encouraging him to speak up in class because he used to speak up quite a lot in class, answering questions and taking part in writing challenges (Participant 4). She mixes and more and more as the year has gone by in the playground she mixes with the kids she’s on. She learns from other kids as well just in the same way as everybody else does (Participant 5).

Finally, without finances (resources) the schools would not purchase current equipment essential for the impaired children. However, the mainstream schools receive government funding as reported by the respondents.

I have been very pleased with the local authority regarding the funding that Chloe’s had to support her or to support the school, to support her, so they have been able to get staff to help her (Participant 2). In Kate’s case, we got a lot of speech and language was brilliant they gave us games to play (Participant 3). There are specific learning techniques that the school’s working on with my wife and specialist, usually things like Numericon and learning numbers and maths through pictures (Participant 5).

Analysis of Promoters of Mental Well-Being

The students’ needs are understood if they can communicate what affect them. The teachers in most occasions point to the bad behaviour of students without considering possible causes such as a mental disorder. However, once they have established that a student has a developmental challenge they try different methods to promote the mental well-being of these students. The children need to communicate with each other, parents, and teachers. Therefore, the first interventions the teachers provide for students is a way of communication. They suggest Makaton and wordplay games. However, parents one and two dispute the use of sign language because they are in denial that their children have a medical condition. Specifically, participant two believe that her daughter should be able to communicate the normal way as other students. Communication builds confidence in the students, and thus they have a steady mental state.

The second intervention aimed at promoting mental well-being of communication impaired students in the mainstream schools as reported by the participants is inclusion. The children do not feel different when they are allowed to mix with their counterparts. The challenge with this approach is bullying or teasing from other students. However, if they get support from the classroom teachers who should encourage them to speak up by answering questions and taking writing challenges they develop a sense of belonging. Apart from the impairment some of these students perform better than normal ones. Participant five whose child had successfully gone through supportive mainstream schools attest to the mixing (inclusion) of the students as essential in maintaining their mental well-being.

The final promoter of mental well-being identified by the parents is the availability of specialised devices to aid the hearing, visualisation and interpretable speech for the students. Communication is key to a child’s mental stability. Each child needs to express their feelings and concerns and at least get a hearing or action from the people involved. For example, an autistic child would assume someone gets what he/she is saying and expect an answer or action in response. Therefore, the schools through government and donations get gadgets such as computers, microphone and hearing devices for both teachers and students to ease the communication between the two.

Theme 3: Inhibitors of mental well-being

The participants pointed to mental health conditions, little attention from teachers, lack of specialist and budget cuts as inhibitors of the children mental well-being. Mental Health Condition – the responses were as follows:

His mental well-being is already affected by the autism. (Participant 1). He has a speech disorder. He is not able to sound his words very well (Participant 4). I think there’s a principle there which applies to her well-being and we meet lots of kids through the charity with Down syndrome (Participant 5).

Little Attention – the responses were as follows:

The time is very little, imagine 2 hours for one who is seven years that is very little time to help (Participant 1). She was quite often excluded from school. One point they expelled (Participant 3). When the other kids were teasing him, and he went to the teachers they said he was complaining too much (Participant 4).

Lack of specialists – the responses were as follows:

I think my son is not lucky because I expected different people to work with him in his case language therapist and psychologist. I am not trained. I am asking for training a lot (Participant 1).

Budget Cuts – the responses were as follows:

The budget for children with hearing loss or deaf has been cut in a number of local authorities (Participant 2). Lack of funding within schools to provide support so, often you find that support is shared amongst the actual teaching staff with the skills and expertise shared amongst different children with very diverse kind of needs (Participant 5).

Analysis of Inhibitors of mental well-being

The first barrier identified by the parents is the children mental health condition which includes autism, speech disorder, and Down syndrome. However, these mental condition act as the base for other barriers in mainstream schools. The teachers and the parents deal with the children similar to normal ones who make the situation difficult for both the teacher and the child. In the end, the student develops more behavioural complications such as depression.

Moreover, there is segregation in the schools which creates low level of understanding and tolerance. At a young age, the children will grow knowing that there is something wrong with them and they will have an imbalance in their mental status since they will be anxious to know what makes them different. In this regard even if the parents assure them that they are okay, they will not believe because they are not allowed to play with peers.

Moreover, participant one had a more serious concern when his son was only allowed in school for two hours, yet he was seven years. In this case, the child has a big concern and imbalance in his brain because his peers stay for the whole day in the school yet he stays for just two hours. Such actions lower the mental well-being of impaired children in mainstream schools. Since teachers may give little attention to student’s behaviour and concern they end up excluding them in school and expel them on behavioural grounds. A student who is expelled from one school has low self-esteem accompanied by low mental well-being. As participant four report his child was being teased while he was undertaking language and speech in primary school. They could tell him that he cannot speak English and thus he ended up having an outburst in the class. For an individual to have an outburst, their mental well-being is unstable. Teasing and bullying are the main inhibitors of the mental well-being of communication impaired children in mainstream schools.

Theme 4: Possible Solutions (Suggestions)

The participants pointed to interaction (mixing all the students without segregation), giving special attention to special children and collaboration among stakeholders.

Interaction – the responses were as follows:

They should give them time to interact with the normal kids, during the play time they will sometimes join them (Participant 1). I had to engage in conversation with them to encourage them to talk (Participant 4).

Special Attention – the responses were as follows:

Even the teachers are encouraging me to take him to a special school because they said they have nothing to do for him (Participant 1). The strategy they used was before the year ended they would make a booklet for him about the teachers he will be meeting and loads of things about the teachers to prepare him for the transition. He also had a special teacher with him, and she had one to one session with him every Wednesday for 1 hour (Participant 4). Some schools aren’t as receptive or inclusive, and it depends on the culture and the personalities within the school itself to whether these ideas are developed (Participant 5).

Collaboration the responses were as follows:

What I think they’re good at and should do more of is the engagement with parents (Participant 2). The fact that she’s got this vocabulary disorder he said if she had been given from the beginning in school the computer to work with and so, everything would be visual she would have passed her exams with flying colours (Participant 3). In primary every Friday they used to take them out on trips either on the train or the bus, see different things, take them to the park (Participant 4). (Participant 5).

Analysis of the suggested solutions (Interventions)

The participants emphasised on mixing the students, paying attention to the behaviour of students and co-production will help improve the condition in mainstream schools. A student diagnosed with autism is fairly normal and should be allowed to interact with other normal children in a mainstream setting. The adjustment that should be made is training the teachers on how to handle special case students. The children should be given a chance to mix with the other children maybe that will help because there is no reason to keep them isolated from the rest. Participant four report positive results with the children when given the opportunity to engage in conversation with them to encourage them to talk. The teachers should encourage the children to join in conservation speaking and saying how they feel, what they see and everything around them.

Second, each student showing unusual behaviour should be given special attention, and the parents should be notified as soonest. Through such initiative, medical and psychological conditions of the children can be understood early thus avoid instances of misunderstanding as reported by participant three whose child was expelled without proper investigation to the cause of her behaviour. The child was exposed to bullying and ill-treatment in school which affected her relationship with the other students. Also, special students develop a strong attachment to specific teachers, and this affects when they change levels or when a new teacher is introduced. Therefore, the parents suggest that teachers use a strategy which requires that before the year ended they should make a booklet for the children about the teachers they will be meeting and loads of things about the teachers to prepare them for the transition.

Last intervention put forward by the parents is a collaboration (co-production).  The teachers need to engage parents and another stakeholder when coming up with strategies for handling special need students. For example, participant three reports that regardless of her child’s vocabulary disorder if the he had been given a computer at an early stage he would have performed better. In this case, the teachers needed to involve a specialist who would have prescribed a computer. Then the parent’s role was to purchase the computer. Moreover, the parents should work closely with the schools to ensure that donors and funds are availed for the special attention their children need. They should also work closely with training institutions to ensure that the majority of teachers receive training on how to handle special need students.

Theme 5: Responsibility (Efforts needed from each stakeholder).

The five participants had a converging view concerning the efforts that ought to be made for the successful integration of communication impaired children. The responses are as listed below:

I think it’s collaborative because we all have a role to play as parents we have to be involved and supportive, school as well and the other agencies as well should be involved and supportive, all, that if they are working together (Participant 1). The school in itself I think a lot of the time when you get the support it goes on to the school in itself and how well trained they are and their compassion to work with children (Participant 3). It is the responsibility of myself and the school, at the same time I need his well-being to be right the teacher is supposed to have that same responsibility (Participant 4). The success we’re having at our school with Sarah is a combination of everybody working together (Participant 5).

Analysis of Responsibility (Efforts needed from each stakeholder).

No specific stakeholder should take full responsibility of the challenges, facilitators or inhibitors of mental well-being of students in mainstream schools according to the participants. The respondents believe that it is collaborative because each stakeholder has a role to play. Parents, schools and other agencies should be involved and supportive. The teachers need to have the right mindset and not discriminate the children based on developmental condition. Parents also need to understand the teacher’s effort in dealing with the students. As participant five put it everyone (peers, siblings, teachers, school administration, and guardian or parents) involve in a special need child’s life should work together to ensure mental well-being of the impaired children in the mainstream schools settings.

 

Chapter 5: Discussion

Introduction

The parents of disabled students reported a range of issues affecting their children in mainstream schools. The issues are grouped in five key categories which include (1) Exclusion from participating in the curriculum (2) Bullying. (3) Inadequate funding (4) A Low level of responsibility, valuing and caring by teachers and (5) Low teacher understanding and knowledge concerning special need students. The issues are discussed under separate subheading in regard to existing literature, and issues that future research could address.

Exclusion from participating in the curriculum

The term curricula are not limited to ‘what’ is taught in institutions of learning, but include how learners are assessed and taught. Therefore, curriculum defines schooling (Cassady 2011). For this reason, Opertti, Brady, and Duncombe (2012) conclude that a flexible and accessible curricula serve as a major role in establishing inclusive schools. Moreover, “the Salamanca World Conference on Special Needs Education” (1994) cited in Polat (2011) stated that student’s need should not be adapted to the curricular, but the curricula should be adapted to the needs of the learners. Therefore, they emphasized on the significance of curriculum adaptation. Besides learners should get any all available support based on the mainstream curriculum and not a different curriculum. The literature identified above point to curriculum adaptation as a vital tool in handling cases of special need students. The parents interviewed reported cases of their children being excluded from the normal learning opportunities. The exclusion happens due to lack of adaptation and accommodation to the curriculum and assessment of students.

Moreover, the participants reported physical segregation happening in mainstream schools. Similar practices were reported by Black-Hawkins (2010), in which special need students were retained in a separate building or classroom from other normal children. The school authorities segregate the SEN from the peers in a way they appear to be in a separate learning institution, special school (Black-Hawkins 2010). In spite of the parents in this study failing to mention ability grouping, one parent reported physical segregation of their children to complete their assignments separately due to their inability to handle what other students were given. As Mittler (2012) concluded, the appropriate expectation of the teachers defines disabled students access to the curriculum.

Teasing and Bullying

The theme of student-to student bullying has received much attention in the research (Olweus, and Limber 2010; Limber 2011; Olweus, and Breivik 2014; Bender, and Lösel 2011; Hymel, and Swearer 2015) and the findings establish that teachers are aware of the extent and nature of the act. Conversely, up to the time of undertaking this study little had been written concerning bullying of disabled students. Regardless, studies by Rose, Monda-Amaya, and Espelage, (2011) and Twyman et al. (2010) showed that special need students have high prevalence of bullying as compared to the peers. Van Roekel, Scholte, and Didden (2010) found that close to half of the students in mainstream school system experience bulling which relate to their their learning difficulties. Some evidence exists in the literature pointing to bullying resulting to physical exclusion of SEN (Olweus, and Breivik 2014).

In this study both student-to student and teacher-to student bullying as a challenge SEN in mainstream schools face. In the cases of participant four, there was a specific teacher he said when they ask a question, and he raised his hands and some of the word the way he was pronouncing it, the teacher would laugh and say something in front of the whole class, and that used to make him feel very bad. Also, the same student would face student-to student bullying when they were out in the playground kids would call him names and the will say things to him like if he goes to the teacher they will not talk to him, they will not be his friend, so because of that, he was not speaking out. Moreover, participant three reported cases of student-to-student bullying. Her daughter was being told that she was overweight and thus excluded or teased by her peers.

The teacher bullying identified in this study is not clear whether it was specifically for the disabled students or it affected the entire class. Therefore, the trainer-to-learners bullying is general and require further investigation in UK.

Funding and Resource Issues

Mainstream education and funding challenges are often linked to each other. The issue of resources is complicated since it involves social and fiscal policies, responsibilities and rights in a society. All the participants mentioned funding (resources) as a common issue when it comes to the education of their disabled children. Their children were excluded from the mainstream due to lack of special trained teachers which culminate to lack of funding to employ specialists in the mainstream schools. In general, the resource issues revolved around funding being reduced (cut) or denied in the mainstream schools. However, no parent reported being requested to provide funds aimed at supporting their disabled children.

The findings are in line with the little empirical research reporting cases of parents being asked to provide funds for the education of their children in mainstream schools. Therefore, future research should aim to elaborate on the funding needs of the mainstream schools and what the parents can provide. The phrase “’lack of funding” was reported by the participants, but how parents arrived to the understanding is unclear. A possible source may be from their observations in schools, or the school staff (administration) may have been the ones providing this information. However, additional research is needed to elucidate these observations.

Levels of responsibility, valuing and caring by teachers

An argument is founded that majority of the issues identified by the parents concerning the life of their children in mainstream schools are an indicative of low levels of responsibility, valuing, and caring by teachers. Conversely, participants identified specific factors such as segregation, teasing from teachers, exclusion of their children based on their disability. The general communication from majority of the parents is a sense of their children not valued or wanted in the school. For example, two parents reported that the school blamed her for poor upbringing and her child was expelled without being given a chance to describe what she was undergoing in the school. However, one parent reported full support from the school and other students regarding her daughters stay in school. The success she attributes to the school culture of inclusivity and co-production. Where co-production implies involving the parents in decision making concerning their children. The crucial role of the trainers in establishing and sustaining a ‘caring’ environment forms the conclusion of several studies (Rose, Monda-Amaya, and Espelage, (2011); Twyman et al. (2010), yet for two parents and their children, this was not the case.

In achieving inclusivity in mainstream schools, teachers have to take responsibility for all students. Teachers adhering to professional pedagogy successfully meets the needs of all students and are likely to hold the belief that they were responsible for all students in their class (Cassady 2011). Similarly, Waldron, and McLeskey (2010) found out that if the classroom teachers does not believe that they have a responsibility for the disabled then the needs of disabled students may not be met in regular classrooms. Moreover, McLeskey, and Waldron (2011) reported similar results thus concluded that the challenges of exclusion of the disabled arise from the teacher’s perception that there are some type of students they cannot teach. Teachers who do not believe on the principle of responsibility for the disabled students are likely to transfer the burden to teacher aides (McLeskey, and Waldron 2011). For example, respondent one reported a case in which their children were given two aide teachers.

Teachers Understanding and Knowledge Concerning the Disabled

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hymel, S. and Swearer, S.M., 2015. Four decades of research on school bullying: An introduction. American Psychologist70(4), p.293.

Rose, C.A., Monda-Amaya, L.E. and Espelage, D.L., 2011. Bullying perpetration and victimization in special education: A review of the literature. Remedial and Special Education32(2), pp.114-130.

Twyman, K.A., Saylor, C.F., Saia, D., Macias, M.M., Taylor, L.A. and Spratt, E., 2010. Bullying and ostracism experiences in children with special health care needs. Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics31(1), pp.1-8.

Van Roekel, E., Scholte, R.H. and Didden, R., 2010. Bullying among adolescents with autism spectrum disorders: Prevalence and perception. Journal of autism and developmental disorders40(1), pp.63-73.

 

 

 

 

Appendix

 

Table 1: Codes with themes and responses from the transcripts
Main Theme Sub-Themes Responses from Participants
1 2 3 4 5
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Challenges

Resources They gave him the same toys to play with every day; then I think he is not learning because they are repeating the same thing from when they moved him over from reception… building blocks and cars the school has nothing to provide for him They gave him the same toys to play with every day; then I think he is not learning because they are repeating the same thing from when they moved him over from reception… building blocks and cars the school has nothing to provide for him
Qualification There are no specialists to help my son at the school, so I think it is complicated to address the challenges that my son has with his autism. Even the people at the school said to me we don’t have much idea about autism. The mainstream school don’t have the facilities, capabilities or the trained teachers and then not being included with the other children     None of the teachers couldn’t deal with it. None of them knew how to calm him at least down and talk to him. At first, the primary school did not know what to do, that’s how they referred him to a psychologist The school is very limited in their knowledge and experience of special educational needs
Societal barriers   What I see is a social model of health playing out, it’s not necessarily Chloe’s deafness that’s the issue with the speech and language it’s societal barriers that stop her.     Generally speaking, segregating people with different needs doesn’t help how the society deals with the difference, and it doesn’t prepare them for Life in the real world. Some schools can be actively hostile. The minute you start to say she is doing well and all the things we’re doing are working; the funding gets reduced or withdrawn
Bullying     She was also bullied at school, and I believe that that was part of it. She was being bullied in school because they were saying she was overweight In primary school being bullying by other kids affected him. When they were out in the playground kids would call him names and the will say things to him like if he goes to the teacher they will not talk to him, they will not be his friend, so because of that, he was not speaking out  
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Facilitators of Mental well-being

Alternative method of communication She gave me that Makaton to deal with him, she said if you want to see him for example, apple, show him the picture of the apple and try to repeat it  

 

They want to get Chloe to do Makaton which is like a sign language, and it’s great if the whole class is doing it

They played a lot of games with her the language games, that would also build up her confidence    
Inclusion   She’s in school, she is like the other kids, and you know she will have one to one support or small group support, and that’s fantastic   They were encouraging him to speak up in class because he used to speak up quite a lot in class, answering questions and taking part in writing challenges She mixes and more and more as the year has gone by in the playground she mixes with the kids she’s on. She learns from other kids as well just in the same way as everybody else does
Financial and Technological support   I have been very pleased with the local authority regarding the funding that Chloe’s had to support her or to support the school, to support her, so they have been able to get staff to help her In Kate’s case, we got a lot of speech and language was brilliant they gave us games to play   There are specific learning techniques that the school’s working on with my wife and specialist, usually things like Numericon and learning numbers and maths through pictures
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inhibitors of Mental well-being

Mental condition His mental well-being is already affected by the autism      

He has a speech disorder. He is not able to sound his words very well

 

I think there’s a principle there which applies to her well-being and we meet lots of kids through the charity with Down syndrome

Little attention The time is very little, imagine 2 hours for one who is seven years that is very little time to help   She was quite often excluded from school. One point they expelled When the other kids were teasing him, and he went to the teachers they said he was complaining too much  
Lack of specialists I think my son is not lucky because I expected different people to work with him in his case language therapist and psychologist. I am not trained. I am asking for training a lot        
Budget cuts   The budget for children with hearing loss or deaf has been cut in a number of local authorities      

Lack of funding within schools to provide support so, often you find that support is shared amongst the actual teaching staff with the skills and expertise shared amongst different children with very diverse kind of needs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Possible Solutions (Suggestions)

Inclusion They should give them time to interact with the normal kids, during the play time they will sometimes join them     I had to engage in conversation with them to encourage them to talk  
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Special attention

Even the teachers are encouraging me to take him to a special school because they said they have nothing to do for him     The strategy they used was before the year ended they would make a booklet for him about the teachers he will be meeting and loads of things about the teachers to prepare him for the transition. He also had a special teacher with him, and she had one to one session with him every Wednesday for 1 hour Some schools aren’t as receptive or inclusive, and it depends on the culture and the personalities within the school itself to whether these ideas are developed
Co-production   What I think they’re good at and should do more of is the engagement with parents The fact that she’s got this vocabulary disorder he said if she had been given from the beginning in We’ve worked closely including putting on and arranging training for the teachers. My wife and the school we’ve worked regarding getting the qualifications and training in specific needs for Down Syndrome school the computer to work with and so, everything would be visual she would have passed her exams with flying colours In primary every Friday they used to take them out on trips either on the train or the bus, see different things, take them to the park We’ve worked closely including putting on and arranging training for the teachers. My wife and the school we’ve worked regarding getting the qualifications and training in specific needs for Down Syndrome

 

 

 


 

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