The influence of home-based factors on educational access for children with mental challenges: the case of Nairobi province, Kenya
Muriithi, Josephine M
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The purpose of this study was to analyze the influence of home based factors on access to education for children with mental challenges in Nairobi Province, Kenya. Objectives of the study were to investigate the effect of social stigma on access to education for the mentally challenged children; to examine the effect of economic factors of poverty and employment opportunities on access to education for the mentally challenged; to examine the effect of parental involvement on access to education for the mentally challenged children and to investigate the effect of parental attitude on access to education for the mentally challenged children. This study adapted a descriptive design where the target population for this research comprised of the head teachers of schools for the mentally challenged, teachers of special schools for the mentally challenged children and parents/guardians of children with mental challenges. Purposive and random sampling was used to select 75 respondents comprising of 5 head teachers, 25 teachers and 45 parents/guardians. Questionnaires were used in this study and were in three sets targeting headteachers, teachers as well as parentslgurdians. Data from the field was edited and coded according to themes which emanated from the research objectives and questions. Descriptive statistics such as percentages were utilized to analyze demographic information and the like type of responses. This study revealed that, m~ority of the children with mental disabilities are not able to access any form of education and the few who are in schools drop out of school because of lack. of fees caused of poverty and financial constrains at home. The study also found out that social stigma has a great influence on education for the mentally challenged. The study also revealed that parental/community attitude influences educational access for children with mental challenges. The study also found out that poverty as an economic factor is the greatest obstacle to access to education for the mentally challenged as compared to employment prospects.Children with mental challenges continue to miss out on receiving any kind of education because they are often excluded as a result of society's lack of knowledge about impairments in general, lack of parental involvement, poverty, little or no employment prospects, negative attitudes on the parents and community and social stigma and social prejudices which assumes that children with mental challenges are unable to participate in education, if the society can be supported to challenge these assumptions, mentally disabled children can be included in school. As part of the recommendation, the researcher calls for intervention measures such as bursaries, empowering poor families economically and awareness creation to be taken to eliminate the barriers relating to access to education for children with mental disabilities. This would ensure increased access, participation, retention, attendance as well as increased enrollment which in tum will result to equal opportunities as the others, easy assimilation by the society and opportunity for self actualization and self- reliance just like the others.