Journal of Special Education and Rehabilitation (2017-10-01)

EXPERIENCES FROM THE EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM – NARRATIVES OF PARENTS WITH CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES IN CROATIA

  • Natalija LISAK,
  • Daniela BRATKOVIĆ ,
  • Tena ANIĆ

DOI
https://doi.org/10.19057/jser.2017.28
Journal volume & issue
Vol. 18, no. 3-4
pp. 91 – 125

Abstract

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Introduction The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN, 2006) confirms the right of children with disabilities to take part in the regular educational system. Social context determines the extent to which this right is actually fulfilled, and the social model and principles of inclusion emphasise society’s responsibility to fulfill this right. Objectives: This qualitative study aimed to document, from parents’ perspectives, how significant events and factors in the social context in Croatia shape the educational experiences of children with disabilities. Methods: Using the narrative approach, we collected the life course histories of parents of children with disabilities from three Croatian regions, and data was analysed using the Life Event History Chart Model. Results: Parents reported several factors that negatively influenced their children’s educational experiences: parental lack of information concerning rights and available support, lack of strong support from teachers, lack of coordinated assessment and support for educational inclusion, incomplete teams of school experts, lack of financial support from the local government, insufficient cooperation of schools with education and rehabilitation experts, and failure to effectively implement legislation. On the other hand, parents pointed to the positive effects of activism in non-governmental organisations that bring together parents of children with disabilities. Conclusion: This research addresses the role of Croatian society in the educational system and provides recommendations that should be taken into account to ensure a good quality of education for children with disabilities in this social context.

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