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Exploring the lived experiences of parents of children with cognitive learning barriers at uMkhambathini.

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The ethnography that was embarked on in completing this paper aimed at collecting the emic perspectives of parents of children with cognitive learning barriers at uMkhambathini. The main objective was to understand their lived experiences as parents of children living with disabilities. The hallmark for doing an anthropological study is undertaking ethnography while being highly cognizant of holism as a principle in anthropological research; such consideration drives researchers to consider all important details that contribute to the phenomenon that is being studied. This was the manner in which the study was completed, and it was brought to an understanding that socio-cultural contexts of parents in the topic have not received much attention in the public domain, especially in rural areas like uMkhambathini where the study was conducted; although it should now receive essential consideration, especially if the makers of policy in the public sector have to achieve adequate and uncompromised inclusion whether in learning or designing appropriate psycho-social support initiatives for parents or their children living with disabilities in an inclusive environment. A total of fifteen (15) parents of children living with cognitive disability as a learning challenge in question were purposively sampled from Asizenzele, Inkanyezini and Table Mountain Primary Schools. The findings were generated through in-depth interviews as well as focus group interviews which allowed parents to share their personal and collective experiences; this also helped the study to collect quality of these experiences. Parents responded to sixteen (16) research questions and significant themes were generated following a thorough qualitative thematic analysis. Theoretical framework and the existing literature in the subject were used to analyse and anthropologically interpret experiences of parents. The socio-cultural perspective is the quarry in which individual problems related to the topic exists; in this breath, government must also design, implement and promote public activism to safeguard education and socialization of people living with disabilities in general.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg.