Original Research

Challenges faced by parents of children with learning disabilities in Opuwo, Namibia

Clever Taderera, Herna Hall
African Journal of Disability | Vol 6 | a283 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ajod.v6i0.283 | © 2017 Clever Taderera, Herna Hall | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 13 May 2016 | Published: 26 July 2017

About the author(s)

Clever Taderera, Department of Social Work and Criminology, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Herna Hall, Department of Social Work and Criminology, University of Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: Parenting children with learning disabilities requires a high level of knowledge and access to resources, information and services. In developing countries, however, these resources and services are not always available. Parents in Namibia, a developing country, therefore face challenges addressing children’s learning and other developmental disabilities, including challenges related to preventative and supportive interventions.
Objective: This research focuses on challenges faced by parents as they parent children with learning disabilities in Opuwo, Namibia.
Method: In-depth interviews were conducted with eight parents regarding the challenges they face in parenting their children with learning disabilities. Thematic analysis enabled the researchers to identify, analyse and report on themes that emerged from the qualitative interview data.
Results: Analysis of the interviews indicated that some participants had only a vague understanding of learning disabilities, as they did not have access to essential knowledge about this phenomenon. They also lacked an awareness of the availability of programmes, services and policies meant to benefit their children with learning disabilities. Participants voiced that they, their children with learning disabilities and community members have stereotypes and prejudices regarding learning disabilities. In this study, most of the children with learning disabilities were raised by single, unemployed parents who seemed to have access to less support from external sources than married couples parenting children with learning disabilities. These single parents are usually not married and because of lack of financial support from the other parent, the majority of them indicated that they struggle to meet the financial and material needs of their children.
Conclusion: The researchers concluded that the participants in this study experience a range of challenges in parenting their children with learning disabilities. The main challenges emanate from financial instability, as well as lack of knowledge regarding services and programmes for children with learning disabilities. This lack of knowledge on the part of participants could indicate poor policy education by policy implementers at grass-roots level.

Keywords

learning disabilities; social model of disability; parenting; human rights; social capital

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