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Understanding the perceptions of the University of KwaZulu-Natal students with disabilities of parental support and the effects it has on their academic performance.

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This study focused on understanding the perceptions that students with disabilities at the University of KwaZulu-Natal have of parental support and the effect it has on their academic performance. In this qualitative study, eight participants were interviewed utilising a semi-structured interview schedule; the interviews were recorded with the consent of the participants using an audio-recorder. The data obtained was analysed using thematic content analysis which gave rise to various themes. The following themes emerged: Transition to university, university challenges, recommendations and methods to overcome challenges, perceptions of parental involvement, barriers to parental involvement and parental support preference that can be put in place to assist students with disabilities. The findings of this research study indicated that parental support has a positive impact on the performance and adjustment of students with disabilities. The parent’s lack of knowledge, beliefs and acceptance of the student’s disability proved to be barriers towards effective parental support. Therefore, based on the research findings, it is recommended that parents and other family members should become more involved towards the academic life of students. While the university of KwaZulu-Natal should consider changing infrastructure to better accommodate students living with disabilities. Additionally, the university should motivate the involvement of parents. Due to the limitations of the research which can be found under chapter six, it was recommended that further research be conducted on this topic.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.