The psychosocial needs of mothers with primary school physically disabled children : the role of social work in community based rehabilitation

Office, Snowball Ditlhamallo (2011-03)

Thesis (M Social Work (Social Work))--University of Stellenbosch, 2011.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Disability can be physical or mental and have different causes, which determine how it is classified. This study will concentrate on physical disability. In the past, the causes of disability were associated with many beliefs of which most perceived disability as something bad. In Botswana, even though people now understand the causes of disability, they still associate it with something bad or have not fully accepted disabled people. The beliefs surrounding physical disability are worse due to the fact that the disability is visible. The way people perceive physical disability does not only affect the disabled person, but also their families. As the causes of disability vary and can develop prior to birth or be acquired later in life, they affect the different age groups in different ways. This study will focus on physical disability in school children and will explore the impact it has on their mother’s psychosocial needs. The physical disability of school children has different challenges depending on the type of disability. The challenges can be physical, social, economic and psychological. Due to these challenges these children are considered to have special needs and require special care. The special care involves providing for their special basic needs and their medical, social and psychological needs at home and at school. The physically disabled school children also use special equipment which helps them with their daily actives. This equipment needs special care and these children therefore need to go for regular checkups. They also need to be assisted with how to use this equipment at home and school. The challenges of physically disabled school going children are administered by social workers under the Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) Programme. The CBR must assist with improving the lives of disabled children and their families. When the social workers attend to the disabled school going child, they concentrate on the medical part of the child’s disability, often forgetting other needs. They also do not attend to the mother and her needs, as she is the primary carer. This study was conducted in Letlhakeng village in Botswana. Twenty (20) biological mothers of physically disabled school going children were interviewed using a semi structured questionnaire. The sampling was a non probability purposive sample and the study used both quantitative and qualitative methods of research. The quantitative study has shown that the mothers in the area have limited education and are non-skilled. They are still active and most of them are single parents engaged in low income economic activities or not doing anything and they have a reasonable number of children. Their housing structures are poor and not accessible for the disabled children. The results indicated that mothers know about disability, but the causes have not been fully communicated to them. Even though they consider physical disability to have a natural cause, they still associate it with other beliefs according to which the disability could have happened at birth or after birth. This indicates that cultural beliefs still have an impact. The mothers send their children to school but their schooling is not taken seriously as the mothers do not know about programmes like special education that can help their children. They still have negative feelings when the child is at school. In addition the mothers are not comfortable with the school environment and still believe a disabled child does not have the capacity to learn. The qualitative study showed that mothers have psychosocial needs which are not provided for, as they feel that CBR does not involve them and assist them accordingly. This therefore deprives them of the information and confidence to provide for their disabled children. The mothers do not interact well with their relatives and the community due to the negative attitudes they have towards the disabled. They also lack support from them and from the social workers, because at the time of this study there was no social worker in the area. The mothers showed that they have the burden of caring for their disabled children and this is affecting them physically, economically, socially and psychologically. The role of social work in rehabilitation is still not taken seriously as indicated by the fact that the post at the rehabilitation office has remained vacant for so long. Overall, mothers have psychosocial needs and experience difficulties in coping with the burden of providing for their physically disabled school going children and the social workers are not playing their role in this regard to assist them. The recommendation is made for advocacy to assist the physically disabled children and their families especially the mothers as the primary caregivers and to improve the role of the social worker.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Gestremdheid kan liggaamlik of geestelik wees en het verskillende oorsake waarvolgens dit geklassifiseer kan word. Hierdie studie fokus op liggaamlike gestremdheid. In die verlede is die oorsake van gestremdheid met allerlei gelowe vebind, wat meestal as negatief beskou is. Selfs al is die oorsake van gestremdheid vandag bekend, is daar steeds mense in Botswana wat gestremdheid as iets boos beskou of diegene met gestremdhede nie ten volle aanvaar nie. Die gelowe rondom liggaamlike gestremdheid is selfs eger omdat die gestremdheid sigbaar is. Die manier waarop mense liggaamlike gestremdheid beskou, beïnvloed nie net die gestremde persone nie, maar ook hulle gesinne. Aangesien die oorsake van gestremdheid verskil en dit by geboorte of later opgedoen kan word, beïnvloed dit verskillende ouderdomsgroepe op verskillende maniere. Hierdie studie fokus op liggaamlike gestremdheid by skoolkinders en ondersoek die impak daarvan op hulle moeders se psigososiale behoeftes. Die liggaamlike gestremdheid van skoolkinders bied verskillende uitdagings na gelang van die soort gestremdheid. Die uitdagings kan liggaamlik, maatskaplik, ekonomies en sielkundig wees. Hierdie uitdagings beteken dat die kinders beskou word as kinders met spesiale behoeftes wat spesiale sorg nodig het. Die spesiale sorg behels dat voorsiening gemaak moet word vir hulle spesiale basiese behoeftes, asook hulle mediese, maatskaplike en sielkundige behoeftes tuis en by die skool. Liggaamlik gestremde skoolkinders gebruik ook spesiale toerusting wat hulle in staat stel om hulle daaglikse aktiwiteite te kan uitvoer. Aangesien hierdie toerusting deel uitmaak van spesiale sorg, word die kinders gereeld medies ondersoek. Hulle moet ook hulp kry om die toerusting tuis en by die skool te gebruik. Die uitdagings wat die skoling van liggaamlik gestremde kinders bied word ooreenkomstig die Gemeenskapsgebaseerde Rehabilitasieprogram (GBRP) deur maatskaplike werkers aangebied. Die GBRP is gemik daarop om kinders met gestremdhede én hulle ouers se omstandighede te verbeter. Wanneer die maatskaplike werkers met skoolgestremde kinders werk, fokus hulle op die mediese sy van die kind se gestremdheid en vergeet dikwels van die ander behoeftes. Hulle sien ook nie om na die moeder – wat die hoofversorger is – en háár behoeftes nie. Die studie is uitgevoer in die dorpie Letlhakeng in Botswana. Onderhoude is gevoer met twintig biologiese moeders van skoolgaande liggaamlik gestremde kinders deur gebruik te maak van ʼn halfgestruktureerde vraelys. Die steekproefneming behels ʼn doelgerigte niewaarskynlikheidsteekproef en die studie gebruik kwantitatiewe sowel as kwalitatiewe navorsingsme. Die kwantitatiewe studie dui daarop dat die moeders in die gebied oor ʼn lae opvoedingsvlak beskik en weinig vaardighede het. Ofskoon hulle nog aktief is en die meeste van hulle die hoof van die huishouding is, is hulle betrokke by ekonomiese aktiwiteite wat lae inkomste bied. Ander beskik oor geen inkomste nie, terwyl die getal kinders binne die nasionale gemiddeld is. Die huisstruktuur is swak en ontoeganklik vir kinders met gestremdhede. Die resultate dui daarop dat die moeders vertroud is met gestremdheid, maar dat die oorsake daarvan nie volledig aan hulle oorgedra is nie. Selfs al besef hulle dat liggaamlike gestremdheid wel ʼn natuurlike oorsaak het, assosieer hulle dit steeds met ander gelowe wat by geboorte of na geboorte ʼn rol kon speel. Dit dui daarop dat kulturele gelowe wel ʼn impak op hulle het. Alhoewel die moeders hulle kinders laat skoolgaan, word die skoling nie in ʼn ernstige lig beskou nie, aangesien die moeders onbewus is van spesialeonderrigprogramme wat hulle kan help. Hulle bly dus negatief oor hulle kinders se skoolbywoning. Verder het die moeders nie vertroue in die skoolomgewing nie en meen gestremde kinders se leervermoë is ontoereikend. Die kwalitatiewe studie wys dat moeders psigososiale behoeftes het waarin daar nie voorsien word nie. Hulle meen die GBRP betrek hulle nie en staan hulle nie dienooreenkomstig by nie. Dít ontneem hulle dus die inligting en selfvertroue om vir hulle gestremde kinders te kan voorsien. Die moeders kommunikeer nie juis met familielede en die gemeenskap nie weens die familielede en gemeenskap se ingesteldheid. Die moeders kry nie bystand van hulle óf van maatskaplike werkers nie. Met die studie is daar vasgestel dat daar geen maatskaplike werkers in die omgewing is nie. Dit was duidelik dat die moeders gebuk gaan onder die las om hulle gestremde kinders te versorg en dat dit hulle liggaamlik, ekonomies, sosiaal en sielkundig beïnvloed. Die rol van maatskaplike werk in rehabilitasie word steeds nie ernstig opgeneem nie en daarom staan die rehabilitasiekantoor dikwels vir lang tye leeg. Oor die algemeen het moeders psigososiale behoeftes en hulle vind dit moeilik om die las te hanteer wat die skoling van hulle liggaamlik gestremde kinders op hulle plaas, terwyl daar onvoldoende maatskaplike werkers is om bystand hiermee te verleen. Daar word vervolgens aanbevelings gedoen en voorspraak gelewer om die gesinne en families van liggaamlik gestremde kinders te help, veral betreffende die rol van die moeders as versorgers en om maatskaplike werkers se betrokkenheid te verbeter.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/6636
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