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Experiences of parents with children who have been diagnosed with dyslexia in secondary schools of Msunduzi Municipality, Pietermaritzburg.

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Date

2018

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Abstract

Reading is one of the essential and fundamental academic skills that every learner needs to acquire in order to successfully accomplish subsequent academic tasks. The achievement of academic tasks such as reading often requires the collective effort of all parties involved, including learners, teachers, parents and other community members concerned. The significance of parental involvement in children’s academic development has been emphasized by the worldwide and national policies of the education system. Thus it is imperative to explore parents’ experiences of parenting children with reading impairment. This study is about exploring experiences of parents with children who have been diagnosed with dyslexia in the secondary schools of uMsunduzi municipality, Pietermaritzburg. This is a qualitative study which adopted an explorative qualitative research design with interpretivist paradigm. Epstein’s theory of multiple spheres was used as the theoretical framework of this study. In-depth semi-structured interviews were used as a data collection technique and thematic analysis employed as a data analysis method. The targeted population was the parents of secondary school learners who have been diagnosed with dyslexia. The sample size consisted of five parents whose children were diagnosed with dyslexia. The study found that parents do not have a clear understanding of dyslexia and its underlying causes. The study established that parents often experience emotional and financial difficulties, parenting challenges, and they lack support from significant others. With regards to the parents’ interaction with schools, it was found that there is insufficient communication between teachers and parents of learners with dyslexia. Hence parents find themselves uninformed and excluded from the education system. The study also found that the studied community is believed to lack resources that are required to assist learners with dyslexia and their parents. On the basis of the findings of the current study, it was recommended that the Department of Education (DoE) needs to take essential measures in enforcing policies that are pertinent to parental involvement in the education system. DoE was also recommended to also provide relevant personnel and essential resources in order to assist learners with dyslexia and the parents concerned.

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Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg.

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