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Transition to special education : the experiences of parents of children with communication disorders associated with intellectual disability in the province of KwaZulu-Natal.

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Millions of children around the world are affected by childhood disabilities, and are much less likely to participate in schooling than those not affected (Filmer, 2008). This study supports the global initiative to ensure that all children, including those with disabilities, are schooled. The aim of this study was to therefore explore the experiences of parents of children with communication disorders associated with Intellectual Disability (ID), specifically during their children‟s transition to special education. An understanding of the nature of the parents‟ experiences could lead to improved service delivery, which could result in better outcomes for the parent and the child. The researcher adopted a qualitative approach to the study and explored the perspectives of the parents. Focus group and individual interviews were conducted to obtain the data which was transcribed and analysed thematically. The results revealed that at a formal level, parents received inconsistent support from the education structures. Some of their children were removed from school registers, whilst others could not access appropriate education. Assistance was sought from public health facilities and from private psychologists. The parents indicated supportive and non-supportive responses from informal support systems. They also talked about their associated negative and positive emotional experiences during their children‟s transition to special education. The study limitations and implications have been discussed. This study made recommendations for stakeholders involved in the transition of affected children to special education. This new knowledge can be translated into action and act as a tool for improving service delivery.


Master in Communication Pathology. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Westville 2015.


Children with mental disabilities--Education--South Africa--KwaZulu-Natal., Special education--Children--South Africa--KwaZulu-Natal., Communicative disorders in children--South Africa--KwaZulu-Natal., Mental retardation--Children--South Africa--KwaZulu-Natal., Theses--Communication pathology., Intellectual disability.