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Perspectives on access and usage of assistive technology by people with intellectual disabilities in the Western Cape province of South Africa: Where to from here?

BOOT, Fleur H
KAHONDE, Callista
DINSMORE, John
MACLACHLAN, Malcolm
2021

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Background: Whilst assistive technology (AT) can play an important role to improve quality of life, health inequity regarding access to appropriate AT for people with intellectual disabilities (ID) is still very much present especially in low resource countries.

 

Objectives: This study focused on exploring factors that influence access to and continued use of AT by people with ID in the Western Cape province of South Africa and to suggest potential implications of these findings and actions required to promote access to AT.

 

Method: A qualitative approach was used to explore the experiences of people with ID and providers of AT. Face-to-face interviews with 20 adults with mild to profound ID, and 17 providers of AT were conducted and the data were analysed thematically.

 

Results: People with ID within the study setting faced many challenges when trying to access AT and for those who managed to acquire AT, its continued usage was influenced by both personal characteristics of the user and environmental factors. Important factors that influence AT access and use for people with ID found in this study were (1) attitudes from the community, (2) knowledge and awareness to identify AT need and (3) AT training and instructions to support the user and care network.

 

Conclusion: With the perspectives of both the providers and users of AT, this study identified priority factors, which could be addressed to improve AT access and use for people with ID in the Western Cape province.

Altered cervical posture kinematics imposed by heavy school backpack loading: A literature synopsis (2009–2019)

ELLAPEN, Terry J
PAUL, Yvonne
HAMMILL, Henriëtte V
SWANEPOEL, Mariëtte
2021

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Background: Habitual school backpack carriage causes neuro-musculoskeletal vertebral, shoulder and hand pain; deviated posture compromised cardiopulmonary function and proprioception.

 

Objective: Present a novel literature summary of the influence of backpack carriage associated with deviated cervical posture and compromised pulmonary function.

 

Method: An electronic literature appraisal adopting the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews, using Google Scholar, Science Direct, EMBASE, AMED, OVID, PubMed and Sabinet search engines, was instituted during 2009–2019. Key search words: schoolbag, backpack, carriage, cervical posture and children. The quality of the studies was assessed using the Downs and Black Appraisal Scale.

 

Results: 583 records were initially identified which was reduced to 14 experimental and observational studies. A total of 1061 participants were included across the 14 studies, with an average age of 11.5 ± 1.3 years, body mass of 37.8 ± 6.6 kilograms (kg), height of 1.41 ± 0.05 meters (m), backpack mass of 5.2 ± 0.9 kg and percentage backpack mass to child’s body mass of 13.75%. The studies mean rating according to the Downs and Black Appraisal Scale was 76.3%. The average craniovertebral angle (CVA) was 53.9° ± 14.6° whilst standing without carrying a backpack was reduced to 50.4° ± 16.4° when loaded (p < 0.05). Backpack loads carried varied from 5% – 30% of the participant’s body mass that produced a mean CVA decline of 3.5°.

 

Conclusion: Backpack carriage alters cervical posture, resulting in smaller CVA and compromised pulmonary function. There is no consensus of the precise backpack mass that initiates postural changes. Girls’ posture begin changes when carrying lighter backpacks as compared to boys of the same age strata.

Cognitive behaviour therapy-based early intervention and prevention programme for anxiety in South African children with visual impairments

VISAGIE, Lisa
LOXTON, Helene
SWARTZ, Leslie
STALLARD, Paul
2021

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Background: Anxiety is the most common psychological difficulty reported by youth worldwide and may also be a significant problem for children with visual impairments. Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) interventions have proven to be successful in treating childhood anxiety; however, mostly these are not suitable for children with visual impairments, as the materials used are not sufficiently accessible to this population.

 

Objectives: The present study was motivated by the dearth of research on this topic and aimed to examine the effects of a specifically tailored, group-based, universally delivered, CBT intervention for anxiety in children with visual impairments and to examine the influence of three predictor variables (i.e. age, gender and level of visual impairment) on prevention effects.

 

Method: A randomised wait-list control group design with pre-, post- and follow-up intervention measures was employed. The final sample of 52 children (aged 9–14) with varying degrees of visual impairment received the anxiety intervention. Participants were followed over a course of 10 months during which their anxiety symptoms were assessed quantitatively at four time points (T1–T4).

 

Results: The results indicated that the anxiety intervention did not significantly decrease symptoms of anxiety within the intervention groups. However, the intervention appeared beneficial for girls, younger children and legally blind participants.

 

Conclusion: This study demonstrated how CBT interventions can be adapted for use in children with visual impairments. Results obtained provide a foundation upon which future updated anxiety intervention programmes can be built, meeting the need for further research in this area.

Barriers experienced by people with disabilities participating in income-generating activities. A case of a sheltered workshop in Bloemfontein, South Africa

TINTA, Nokuthula
STEYN, Hester
VERMAAS, Jana
2020

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Background: People with disabilities often participate in income-generating activities (IGAs) in sheltered workshop in South Africa. However, they face many barriers that limit their ability to participate effectively in economic activities hosted by the workshops.

 

Objectives: To illustrate the barriers that limit the participation of people with disabilities in IGAs in a sheltered workshop.

 

Method: A qualitative exploratory single case study was conducted in a sheltered workshop. Eighteen participants, age 22 to 52 years with various disabilities were purposively sampled. Observations and semi-structured interview guides were used to generate data. Verbatim transcription was used after which content analysis was applied to identify ideas and concepts relating to barriers experienced by people with disabilities participating in IGAs.

 

Results: Some of the barriers participants experienced included institutional barriers (ability to use working tools, inability to concentrate for long periods, lack of funds, language barriers, lack of motivation, activities that are not stimulating and lack of artistry skills) and attitudinal barriers (exclusion from decision making) These barriers had an adverse influence on their performance in IGAs.

 

Conclusion: The study found eight different barriers that existed in a sheltered workshop which limited the participation of the people with disabilities that attended the workshop. This information can be used to develop strategies to address each barrier and promote increased participation of the individual thereby improving their quality of life.

 

 

African Journal of Disability, Vol 9, 2020 

Impact of lived experiences of people with disabilities in the built environment in South Africa

McKINNEY, Victor
AMOSUN, Seyi L.
August 2020

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Background: In spite of legislations and policies to ensure an inclusive society in South Africa for the accommodation of people with disabilities, there are reports that they still struggle to move freely within society.

 

Objectives: As part of a larger qualitative exploratory study on the preparation of undergraduate civil engineering students in a local university to contribute to the development of an inclusive society, this article seeks to understand the impact of the lived experiences of people with disabilities in their interaction with the built environment.

 

Method: Four persons with disabilities, considered to be knowledgeable about South African legislations relating to disability, were purposely selected to each share one specific experience whilst interacting with the built environment. The transcribed texts of the interviews were analysed by using the phenomenological–hermeneutic method.

 

Results: The participants exhibited strong desires to participate in society. However, the sense of loss of control and independence as they encountered challenges in the built environment changed the euphoria to disempowerment, rejection, anger and despondency. In spite of their experiences, participants expressed a commitment towards overcoming the challenges encountered in the broader interest of people with disabilities.

 

Conclusion: A deeper understanding of the impact of the experiences of people with disabilities when they participate within the built environment in South Africa revealed a broad spectrum of negative emotions, which may impact the quality of life and well-being of the participants.

 

 

African Journal of Disability, Vol 9, 2020

The life stories and experiences of the children admitted to the Institute for Imbecile Children from 1895 to 1913

Du PLESSIS, Rory
August 2020

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Background: South African scholarship on intellectual disability has produced a sizeable body of research, yet there are numerous areas where there is a paucity of research. One area in which there is a conspicuous paucity of research is historical studies of people with intellectual disability (PWID). The existing works devoted to the history of PWID in South Africa are primarily focused on the legal provisions and institutions for the protection and care of PWID. Missing from these works are the life stories and experiences of PWID.

 

Objectives: The article offers a study devoted to the life stories and experiences of the children with intellectual disability (CWID) who were admitted to the Institute for Imbecile Children from 1895 to 1913. The institute opened in April 1895 in Makhanda (formerly known as Grahamstown), South Africa. The institute was the first of its kind in the Cape Colony for CWID.

 

Method: The study presents a qualitative investigation of the life stories and experiences of the children that were recorded in the institute’s casebook. The entire set of 101 cases contained in the casebook was analysed by adopting a Gadamerian approach to hermeneutics.

 

Results: The examination of the institute’s casebook identified several broad themes relating to the children’s admittance, daily life at the institute and their routes out of the institute. The study also extols the individuality of each child’s life story to provide an awareness and richer appreciation of the humanness and personhood of the children.

 

Conclusion: The article contributes a positive narrative to the identity and the history of South African children with intellectual disability living in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

 

 

African Journal of Disability, Vol 9, 2020 

Representation and methods of normalisation: Narratives of disability within a South African tertiary institution

DEVAR, Teagan
BOBAT, Shaida
REUBEN, Shanya
July 2020

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Background: The manner in which disability is understood influences how individuals within a society, its institutions, policies and structures are able to accommodate and support people with disabilities (PWD) (Kaplan 2000). Understanding how students with disabilities (SWD) within a higher education context perceive and experience disability as well as how key players, namely, lecturers and disability unit (DU) staff, who influence that experience, is important in further shaping policy and providing a truly inclusive environment for all within HEIs.

 

Objectives: The study aimed to examine the narratives of disability among SWD, lecturers and the DU within a tertiary institution, with a view to better understand their experiences and required initiatives to address the challenges of disability within a higher tertiary institution.

 

Method: The study drew on three theoretical frameworks: social constructionism, feminist disability theory and the Foucauldian perspective. Data for the study were collected through in-depth semi-structured interviews with 12 SWD, seven members of staff from the institution’s DU and five lecturers from within the School of Applied Human Sciences. Data were analysed using thematic analysis.

 

Results: The findings suggested that in spite of both facilitating and positive representations of disability, the dominant representation of disability was perceived as challenging and as a result, disempowering. Students with disabilities were found to adapt, and consequently modify their behaviour by disassociating from their disability in order to fit in.

 

Conclusion: The study highlights the need for creating spaces and engagement within an HEI context that both challenge negative discourses of disability, and at the same time, promote positive representations of disability.

 

 

African Journal of Disability, Vol 9, 2020

Voices of people with disabilities during the COVID19 outbreak

INTERNATIONAL DISABILITY ALLIANCE (IDA)
May 2020

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A collection of stories from people with various disabilities across the globe sharing their experiences with the COVID-19 outbreak and pandemic risk reduction strategies implemented by their governments. Some stories are written by IDA and some are external.

Examples are:

  • How absence of transport can be fatal: A Story from Uganda
  • In Uganda, a Deaf man loses his leg after being shot during curfew
  • Voices of Mexico: Disability and COVID-19 | Voces de Mexico: Discapacidad y COVID-19
  • COVID-19 in Mexico: the experience of deafblind children told by their mothers (Espanōl)
  • Reaching Persons with Deafblindness
  • COVID-19 and The Forgotten People (Indonesia)
  • When accessible information is far from a reality: Zimbabwe during COVID-19
  • The experience of a blind woman in Kenya under COVID-19 outbreak
  • Being a single mother of two persons with disabilities under COVID-19 (South Africa)
  • Autistic students in South Africa: how has their life changed?
  • The Story of Rose Rokiatou: COVID-19 Pandemic and Financial Vulnerability of Persons with Disability in Mali
  • COVID-19 in Romania: Life-threatening situations reported
  • COVID-19 in Nepal: What are the challenges for indigenous persons with disabilities?
  • COVID-19 in India : Technology can be your best friend or worst enemy

Transformative equality: Court accommodations for South African citizens with severe communication disabilities

WHITE, Robyn M
BORNMAN, Juan
JOHNSON, Ensa
TEWSON, Karen
NIEKERK, Joan van
April 2020

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Background: Persons with disabilities are generally at greater risk of experiencing violence than their peers without a disability. Within the sphere of disability, individuals with severe communication disabilities are particularly vulnerable and have an increased risk of being a victim of abuse or violence and typically turn to their country’s criminal justice system to seek justice. Unfortunately, victims with disabilities are often denied fair and equal treatment before the court. Transformative equality should be pursued when identifying accommodations in court for persons with communication disabilities, as the aim should be to enable such individuals to participate equally in court, without barriers and discrimination.

 

Objectives: This research aimed to identify court accommodations recommended by legal experts, which could assist individuals with severe communication disabilities in the South African court.

 

Method: A qualitative design was used to conduct a discussion with a panel of legal experts.

 

Results: Using Article 13 (Access to Justice) of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) as a human rights framework, four themes were identified: equality, accommodations, participation and training of professionals.

 

Conclusion: Foreign and national law clearly prohibits discrimination against persons with communication disabilities because of their disability and state that they should be given fair and equal access to the court system. For transformative equality to be achieved, certain rules and laws need to be changed to include specific accommodations for persons with communication disabilities so that they may be enabled to participate effectively in court in the criminal justice system.

 

 

 

African Journal of Disability, Vol 9, 2020

The value of a short practical training course for newly qualified therapists working with children with cerebral palsy in South Africa

BAKUWA, Takondwa C
PILUSA, Sonti
SALOOJEE, Gillian
April 2020

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Background: Cerebral palsy (CP) is the most common and most complex disabling disorder in children. Newly qualified therapists are expected to manage CP despite feeling inexperienced and inadequately prepared. Short postgraduate practical training courses could potentially help bridge this readiness gap. However, the value of these short courses in addressing the knowledge and experience gap is unknown.

 

Objectives: To establish the value of a short practical training course on the self-perceived readiness of newly qualified South African trained therapists to work with children with CP.

 

Method: Secondary analysis of records on therapists’ immediate evaluation of a short practical training course on CP management was completed. The analysis included records from 11 courses collected over a 2-years period (2015–2017). Paired t-tests were used to determine the change in knowledge in the quantitative questionnaire. Qualitative data were analysed inductively to determine themes.

 

Results: The majority of therapists had their expectations met by the course. Therapists’ self-perceived level of knowledge about various aspects of CP after the course changed significantly. Therapists appreciated the adult teaching and learning methods, conducive learning environment, the relevant and organised content and holistic approach of the course. They demonstrated readiness to adopt positive attitudes, perceptions and practice following the course.

 

Conclusion: A short practical postgraduate training course in CP is valuable in addressing the self-perceived lack of readiness amongst therapists with little experience in this area. It is capable of improving the knowledge and changing attitudes, perceptions and practice intentions positively, and thereby potentially improving the quality of service offered to children with CP.

 

 

African Journal of Disability, Vol 9, 2020 

Functional outcome of stroke inpatients according to human immunodeficiency virus status: A feasibility study

HARTLEY, Tasneem
BURGER, Marlette
ESTERHUIZEN, Tonya M
INGLIS-JASSIEM, Gakeemah
March 2020

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Background: Stroke in human immunodeficiency virus positive (HIV+) individuals is becoming an increasing concern. Being significantly younger than typical stroke patients, the impact of functional challenges on quality of life and burden on society becomes more eminent.

 

Objectives: This feasibility study aims to determine the requirements for a large descriptive cohort, to adequately describe the functional outcome of stroke patients with varying HIV status.

 

Method: All stroke patients meeting the inclusion criteria were recruited over a 6-month period at a South African inpatient rehabilitation centre. Data were collected on admission and discharge using outcome measures including the Barthel Index (BI), Berg Balance Scale (BBS) and the use of assistive devices used to describe independence with activities of daily living (ADL), mobility and safety post-stroke. Statistical analysis was performed using Stata version 14.2.

 

Results: The feasibility study identified appropriate procedures and barriers to a successful study in addition to describing preliminary data on participant demographics, relevant medical history and functional outcomes post-stroke. Limitations that affected feasibility included minimal recruitment sites, length of data collection period, timely communication of participant discharge plans and dates, and confirmation of participant HIV status. An appropriate comparison between sub-groups could not be made because of disproportionate group sizes, median age differences and no assessor blinding.

 

Conclusion: To increase generalisability and the understanding of the unique HIV+ stroke profile, multiple recruitment sites, longer data collection periods, assessor blinding and age-matched groups with HIV status confirmation are recommended.

 

 

African Journal of Disability, Vol 9, 2020

The promise of equal education not kept: Specific learning disabilities – The invisible disability

GOW, Melanie A
MOSTERT, Yvonne
DREYER, Lorna
February 2020

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Background: This research is part of a larger project on the exploration of inequalities in South African higher education. This current study focussed on the implementation of policies to eradicate inequalities in an inclusive education system.

 

Objectives: This article aimed to establish the implementation of policy by researching the lived experiences of students with specific learning disabilities (SLDs) studying in the university.

 

Method: A qualitative, systematic review was employed as the research methodology. Original peer-reviewed qualitative studies published between 1994 and 2017 were systematically reviewed. The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) was used to ensure rigorous reviews. The Critical Appraisal Skills Programme (CASP) was used to guide the process of critical appraisal of the selected articles which resulted in a total of 10 articles being selected for reviewing. The target population of this research comprised undergraduate students diagnosed with SLD. Semi-structured interviews were the main data collection tools used in the studies that were reviewed. Data from the selected articles were extracted and synthesised.

 

Results: The dominant themes that emerged from the review were: (1) fear of stigmatisation; (2) gaps in policy implementation; (3) experiences vary across departments; and (4) self-determination and family support as success factors.

 

Conclusion: An important aspect in the transformation of higher education institution is to ensure the closing of the disjuncture between policy and implementation in support of students with SLD.

 

 

African Journal of Disability, Vol 9, 2020 

The development of education for learners with diverse learning needs in the South African context: A bio-ecological systems analysis

SMIT, Suegnet
PRESTON, Lynn D
HAY, Johnnie
February 2020

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Background: Prior to 1994, special education in South Africa was marginalised and fragmented; therefore, the new democratic government promoted inclusive education as a means to transform education in general and diverse education in particular. However, transformation in diverse education is seemingly moving forward at a snail’s pace – too slow to benefit all learners experiencing barriers to learning and development.

 

Objectives: This article serves a dual purpose: firstly, to apply a bio-ecological approach to highlight the historic development of diverse education and, secondly, to explore the interactive processes within the systemic levels in the South African education system, which affects the learner on the person dimension of the bio-ecological approach.

 

Method: A document analysis approach was utilised to collect information by exploring a large body of research literature, which included academic articles, reports, policies and policy reviews. Data were categorised within the systems of the bio-ecological model to determine successes and challenges at each level.

 

Results: Results from the bio-ecological systems analysis of related literature revealed not only many successes but also many challenges that inhibit change, growth and development in the South African education system, even more so for children experiencing barriers to learning.

 

Conclusion: The transformation process of change from what was to what should be, regarding diverse education, seems to be stuck at what is and not moving forward to what could be. It has not transformed significantly enough to fill the gap between reality and the envisaged aim or dream of quality education for all.

 

 

African Journal of Disability, Vol 9, 2020 

Learning support strategies for learners with neurodevelopmental disorders: Perspectives of recently qualified teachers

YORO, Amarachi J
FOURIE, Jean V
VAN DER MERWE, Martyn
February 2020

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Background: Inclusive education envisages the improvement of the quality of education for all learners. This further implies that schools must adjust all systems of teaching and learning to accommodate all learners regardless of their diverse needs. The reduction of educational inequalities through inclusive practices is aimed at supporting the accomplishment of academic outcomes for all. Learners presenting with neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs) place specific requirements on teachers, particularly when they find themselves in mainstream classrooms.

 

Objectives: This study focused on the learning support strategies used by recently qualified teachers in accommodating learners with NDDs in mainstream classrooms in the Gauteng province of South Africa.

 

Method: A qualitative approach was used to explore the support strategies used by recently qualified teachers in mainstream classrooms when dealing with learners with NDDs. Purposive sampling was used to select six recently qualified teachers from different mainstream classroom. Data were collected using semi-structured interviews, observations and critical incident reports.

 

Results: The findings revealed that teachers employ a variety of support strategies such as cooperative learning, peer learning, ability grouping, extensive visual aids and curriculum differentiation in an attempt to support learners. The support provided by the teachers was evident in their performance as learners with NDD were able to learn and understand the lessons irrespective for their barrier to learning.

 

Conclusion: Contrary to literature findings that teachers do not support learners with diverse needs because of lack of skills, training and knowledge, this study revealed that recently qualified teachers employ a variety of support strategies to support learners with NDDs. However, it appeared that these support strategies were rather general teaching and learning strategies. More support strategies should be applied to help learners with NDD in the mainstream classroom.

 

 

African Journal of Disability, Vol 9, 2020 

Even we are important: Sexuality and the degenderisation of people with disabilities in the linguistic landscapes of two South African universities in the Western Cape province

ADEKUNLE, Temitope O.
MHETA, Gift
RAPEANE-MATHONSI, Maleshoane
November 2019

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Background: This study focuses on the positioning of gender, sexual orientation and people with disabilities in the linguistic landscapes of two selected South African universities, which are located in the Western Cape province.

 

Objectives: This study aims to answer the question: How are power relations depicted through linguistic landscaping in the universities?

 

Methods: Given that there is minimal empirical data in this field, the researcher approached this question by exploring the way in which sexual orientation and people with disabilities are perceived, via the modal resources used in the categorisation of toilet users at the institutions. Specifically, toilet signage was observed as there were only a few other signage or forms of support (such as ramps and lifts – some of which may seem disability-unfriendly in terms of space) and acknowledgement in other places at the institutions for people with disabilities. Data (signs, images, texts, billboards and posters) were collected by means of photography. The interpretive paradigm was used to determine the choice of methodology: critical discourse analysis and multimodality. These were also used to thematically analyse the collected data.

 

Results: Findings revealed that sexuality, as well as subtle inequality, unfortunately remain unravelled areas in South Africa’s higher institutions of learning. In addition, the degenderisation of people with disabilities appears to be prevalent at the institutions, although this may not necessarily be reflective of practices at all higher education institutions in South Africa.

 

Conclusion: Nonetheless, the examined results are stimulating indicators of hegemonic and preferred practices in public places. They also depict the obtainable dissimilar scales and imbalances in society, which are not addressed may impede other authentic and ongoing measures of social integration and advancement.

 

 

African Journal of Disability, Vol 8, 2019

How pain management for children with cerebral palsy in South African schools complies with up-to-date knowledge

JOHNSON, Ensa
NILSSON, Stefan
ADOLFSSON, Margareta
November 2019

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Background: Pain in children with cerebral palsy (CP) has its sources in musculoskeletal problems that can influence learning in a school setting. Best pain management is essential for these children, but school staff may not keep up to date with the latest developments and interventions. Therefore, staff’s perceptions of beneficial strategies may not comply with contemporary scientific knowledge about effective evidence-based interventions.

 

Objectives: This study investigated how pain management intervention for children with CP in South African schools complied with international scientific knowledge about evidence-based interventions. The intention was to provide support for an update of knowledge on both individual level (i.e. professionals) and system level (i.e. decision makers).

 

Method: Five focus groups were conducted with staff members at five schools for children with special educational needs in South Africa. Manifest and latent content analyses of professional statements identified interventions reported as beneficial and related them to higher and lower levels of intervention evidence as reported at the time of data collection.

 

Results: Most treatment strategies concerned motor functioning that fell within the framework of physiotherapists and occupational therapists. Access to orthopaedic expertise was limited, waiting times were long and medication for spasticity treatment was not offered.

 

Conclusion: A discrepancy between published evidence and clinical practice for pain management in children with CP in South African school settings was noted. Suggestions for improved early intervention to identify children’s hips at risk through surveillance programmes; and orthopaedic management are proposed to prevent deformities and unnecessary suffering in South African children with CP.

 

 

African Journal of Disability, Vol 8, 2019

Including parents in inclusive practice: Supporting students with disabilities in higher education

DUMA, Princess T.
SHAWA, Lester B.
October 2019

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Background: While a number of research studies have endeavoured to understand students with disabilities’ experience in higher education and have recommended ways to effectively support student success, the role of parental support has been neglected. Many studies have been hampered by a limited understanding of students with disabilities and have, in particular, underestimated students’ ‘access to economic, social and cultural forms of capital’ that caring parents provide.

 

Objectives: This article seeks to explore students with disabilities’ experiences of parental support in the South African higher education context. The research question guiding this article is: What forms of economic, social and cultural capital do parents and extended families provide to students with disabilities to enable them to succeed in higher education?

 

Method: In-depth semi-structured individual and focus group interviews were conducted with 17 students with disabilities at two universities of technology. The interview transcripts were thematically analysed with a view to understanding Pierre Bourdieu’s forms of capital that parents provided.

 

Results: The study found that while parents are not always able to provide material support, they offered rich and varied forms of social and cultural capital that enabled students with disabilities’ academic success.

 

Conclusion: Given that parental support plays an important role in the success of students with disabilities, and this role changes as these students become more independent, this study recommends the need for universities to also pay more attention to involving parents in the education of the former. It is hoped that putting in place appropriate forms of parental involvement can create a conducive environment for universities to provide inclusive education holistically.

 

 

African Journal of Disability, Vol 8, 2019

A university’s response to people with disabilities in Worcester, Western Cape

MÜLLER, Jana V.
NED, Lieketseng
BOSHOFF, Hananja
October 2019

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Background: The call for institutions of higher education to foster interaction with communities and ensure training is responsive to the needs of communities is well documented. In 2011, Stellenbosch University collaborated with the Worcester community to identify the needs of people with disabilities within the community. How the university was engaging with these identified needs through student training still needed to be determined.

 

Objectives: This study describes the engagement process of reciprocity and responsivity in aligning needs identified by persons with disability to four undergraduate allied health student training programmes in Worcester, Western Cape.

 

Method: A single case study using the participatory action research appraisal methods explored how undergraduate student service learning was responding to 21 needs previously identified in 2011 alongside persons with disability allowing for comprehensive feedback and a collaborative and coordinated response.

 

Results: Students’ service learning activities addressed 14 of the 21 needs. Further collaborative dialogue resulted in re-grouping the needs into six themes accompanied by a planned collaborative response by both community and student learning to address all 21 needs previously identified.

 

Conclusion: Undergraduate students’ service learning in communities has the potential to meet community identified needs especially when participatory action research strategies are implemented. Reciprocity exists when university and community co-engage to construct, reflect and adjust responsive service learning. This has the potential to create a collaborative environment and process in which trust, accountability, inclusion and communication is possible between the university and the community.

 

 

African Journal of Disability, Vol 8, 2019

The role of rehabilitation care workers in South African healthcare: A Q-methodological study

GAMIET, Shamila
ROWE, Michael
October 2019

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Background: The South African Department of Health identified the need to train a new cadre of community health worker (CHW) in the field of rehabilitation as part of their 2030 Health Plan that aims to improve primary healthcare (PHC) and community-based rehabilitation (CBR). Community health workers can be effectively utilised in CBR if their role is understood and their potential is not limited by professional protectionism and scepticism. A clear understanding of the scope of practice of a new cadre will minimise resistance by health professionals.

 

Objectives: The aim of this study was to explore rehabilitation health professionals’ perception of the role of the new cadre, called rehabilitation care workers (RCWs), in South African healthcare.

 

Methods: Q-methodology was used to gather and interpret the data. A convenient sample of 16 health professionals participated in the study. Participants ranked statements about the role of the RCWs from strongly agree to strongly disagree. Data were entered into PQMethod software program for statistical and factor analysis.

 

Results: Two factors emerged. Participants loading onto Factors 1 and 2 were of the opinion that RCWs’ role would be to strengthen PHC and CBR and to promote participation of people with disabilities (PWD) in intermediate care and community.

 

Conclusion: Rehabilitation health professionals’ positive perception of the new cadre is encouraging so that it could ensure their effective utilisation in CBR. Rehabilitation care workers were perceived as capable of enhancing the lives of PWD by ensuring inclusive development.

 

 

African Journal of Disability, Vol 8, 2019

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