|dc.description.abstract||There is global recognition of the significance of Early Childhood
Development (ECD). South Africa’s commitment to ECD was evident in
2004 when the Office of the Premier declared ECD a national priority and
directed municipalities to include ECD planning in their Integrated
Development Plans. In 2005, the government published the National
Integrated Plan (NIP) for ECD in South Africa: 2005 - 2010, further
demonstrating the government’s commitment toward providing a solid
foundation for the holistic development of children.
The researcher noted however that despite these policy developments,
there was still a gap in direct ECD services for children with visual
impairments. The aim of this research study therefore was to determine
the level of exclusion in the provisioning of ECD services for children
with visual impairment by exploring the experiences of parents, service
providers and foundation phase educators at special schools regarding
ECD provisioning in KZN.
The research was conducted using qualitative methodologies.
Descriptive, thematic data was gathered through focus group discussions
with Social Workers and semi-structured interviews with parents of
children with visual impairment and foundation phase educators at
schools for the blind. The findings yielded four central themes:
insufficient information and support, service unavailability, inadequate
specialist training and limited resources. These themes revealed that,
despite ECD being declared a national priority, the exclusion of children
with visual impairment from the government’s ECD provisioning was
The recommendations from this study primarily addressed the
government revisiting its structures and policies to ensure the inclusion of
children with visual impairment in ECD programmes and secondly to
NGO service providers to promote awareness of available resources and
support for parents of visually impaired children.
Further research is necessary to expand on the findings of this study to
include all provinces of South Africa, and develop, implement and
evaluate the ECD protocol for children with visual impairment.||en