Thesis Rewriting on Education Sample

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PARENT INVOLVEMENT IN THE EDUCATION OF A CHILD WITH SPECIAL EDUCATION NEEDS

Literature Review

Special Educational Needs

The literature review seeks to assess on the various aspects that promote education of children with special needs. Therefore, study focuses on the identification and outlining practices that lead to the development of an inclusive educational environment. With the existence of significant amount of literature emphasizing on the need for parent involvement (PI) in the provision as well as interventions on children who exhibit special education needs (SEN). The literature review will therefore adopt a thematic approach towards the development of an inclusive educational framework that will take into consideration children with special needs (Khajehpour and Ghazvim 2011). This will include themes such as inclusive school policies, parental support, provision of information, an Individual Education Plan (IEP), and teaching strategies. Therefore, further focus concerns these aspects contribution in building the study and the role of the literature in shaping the research.

The segregation of children in accordance with their difficulties was initially perceived to be essential since they were thought not in a position to benefit from ordinary instructions approaches. As a result, the established policies that builds the study sought to challenge the limited and stigmatized nature associated with segregated education, and consequently focused on giving voice to the dissatisfaction of those with special needs (O’Hehir and Savelsberg 2014). This is with the aim of addressing the significant issues of inequality concerning education access among the children with special needs within the society.

The study by Vandegrift and Green (2002) identifies the concept of parental involvement particularly in regard to parent of SEN child through the use of two key elements. First concerns the commitment level in relation to the support of the parent. This mainly entails activities such as providing the child with encouragement, demonstrating sympathy, being understanding and reasoning. Secondly, it concerns parental activity level as well as their participation in carrying out an observable act. Parental involvement is therefore identified as a combination of active participation and the commitment level. Additionally, according to the study work by Lai and Vadeboncoeur (2012) the concept of parental involvement within the field of education refers to parental support towards the education of their children both at home and school.

Theme 1: Inclusive school policies

It entails the existence of policies that respond to special educational needs. The report by Warnock (1978) and the 1981 Education Act played a significant role in changing the special education needs conceptualization. This is particularly due to their contribution in the introduction of special education idea as an inclusive approach that should be on the basis of common educational goals to all children without consideration of either their disabilities or abilities. The subsequent introduction of The Children Act (1989) demonstrated the right of the parents in having an involvement in the education of their children since are considered to the prime educators within the lives of their children. Additionally, the 1989 Children Act offers parents with ‘Parental Responsibility’ and thus, clearly sets out the responsibilities and rights of those individuals legally allowed to have an engagement in the caring and upbringing of a child.

Moreover, the report by Department for Education and Skills (DE & S 2004) demonstrate the government focus towards offering assistance to all children who exhibit SEN realize their potential. Therefore, the relevance and the effectiveness of these policies is through their development within schools and with the involvement of key stakeholders, and especially the inclusion of parents. The existing literature has further played a significant role in the study through the focus on various policies that concern the adoption of inclusive approach within the school environment. As depicted in the Code of practice (2001), its major focus is in strengthening the rights of SEN children so that they that they can be accepted in mainstream schools that their parents wish, and with the interests of all the children being protected. In this case, therefore, as the study is build with the understanding of children rights, the development of Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) is with the aim of addressing the complex needs of the children. Its introduction was focused towards offering support to all the children through the incorporation of Education, Health and Care provision that are essential for the success of a child. Moreover, the establishment of Learning Act in promoting inclusion while widening the understanding of the concept of special needs.

Theme 2: Provision of information

The existence of regular and open communication is critical towards effective promotion of collaboration between the parents, school and the general community. In this case, therefore, ensuring that parents are kept informed will greatly assist in avoiding cases of misunderstandings. Therefore, as depicted in the study by Corner and Haynes (2001), parental involvement to the education of their children is considered to be a desirable and essential towards the realization of effective schooling. Also, with their involvement and being provided with information, the parents will be able to carry out appropriate choices during the development of coping strategies for their special needs children. In this case, therefore, through parental involvement in school activities, it offers them new insights as well as an understanding in relation to their children, and help in building bridges between home and school learning (Henderson and Berla 1994). Additionally, SEN Code of Practice emphasizes on the responsibility of schools in ensuring full involvement of the parents within the different identification, provision, and assessment aspect.

Furthermore, the code emphasizes on the need of parents to be included in decision making which have an impact on their children, and also have access to information advice and the relevant support to assist in carrying out the decisions (Hornby and Lafaele 2011). This is particularly due to the role of the code in providing a guideline which seek to ensure acquisition of information by parents concerning available procedures and support within schools. Further focus of SEN code of practice is towards promoting the existence of a climate of participation and co-operation between school and the parents, thus, making it possible for SEN pupils realize their potential. Therefore, with the awareness of such information by the parents, it will assist in handling cases of mismatch between family values and the values and aims of the school. Besides, as denoted in Rathobone Society (2001) study, the number of parents with personal experience of a disabled child were very few due to their lackof knowledge as well as information in order to demonstrate full involvement of the ongoing assessment for their child (Corner and Haynes 2001). This depicts the significant role of the literature in shaping the research by further building on some of the known aspects that concerns the importance of provision of information in promoting the education of children with special needs.

Theme 3: Student Interactions

The focus on interventions that seek to build social skills of children with special educational needs exhibits a significant role in enhancing all the students’ inclusion, this is particularly because, with poor social competence can likely be excluded. As a result, parents ought to emphasize more in promoting the social skills of their children with special needs. Hartas (2008) in his study observes that there exists an indirect relation between the works of parental involvement and school outcomes. This is particularly by assisting the child in building a pro-learning self-concept, pro-social, as well as high educational aspirations (Mannan & Blackwell, 1992). In this case, therefore, the study demonstrates that regardless of parents social-economic status as well as their professional networks, they can greatly have an influence on both academic achievements of their children and their social emotional adjustment. This is in agreement with the work by Henderson and Berla (1994) which illustrates that the extent of parental involvement in their children’s education can provide a more accurate prediction of the achievement of students, hence not being the income level of the parent.

As further depicted in the research by DfE (2003), parenting is one of the significant factors that impacts on age 10 children educational achievement, thus, influencing their later life achievements. In this case, therefore, children realize more educational success where the schools and the parents are working together to educate, motivate, and socialize students (Blazer 2005). The study is therefore, build with an understanding of the critical role that parents can play in promoting the interaction process of their children, while the literature shaping on the known aspects and identifying the process can influence positive educational attainment of the children.

Theme 4: Parental Support

Moreover, the research work by Khajehpour and Ghazvim (2011) recognizes the need to promote parent involvement in their children education as a means of securing their greater well-being as well as enhance their achievements. As a result, the authors belief is on the significant difference that parental involvement impact on educational outcomes, thus demonstrating the key role that parents exhibit in raising educational standards. This denotes that parents possess key information and consequently manifest a critical role in educational needs of their children since they hold unique strengths, experience and knowledge that they can contribute in order to offer a shared view concerning the needs of their children, as well as the best approaches of supporting them (Lai and Vadeboncoeur 2012). There is consequently an essential need to ensure parental provision of positive behavioral support towards promotion of appropriate social interaction and emotional support for their children with special needs. Parents can further support through the provision of learning resources with the inclusion of increasing co-curricular in order to enhance school capacities in responding towards diversity (Marrow & Malin 2004).

As further observed in the study by Cod (2015), parental involvement has a significant contribution in offering information concerning the strengths of the child, their weaknesses, background information in relation to the history of the child and development, and their well-being while at home. These aspects offer crucial information which may relate to the family factors and their likely impact to the learning process of the child. Furthermore, as emphasized in the research work by Center for Child Well-being (2010), through parental involvement, there is often an improvement of the morale of the child, their attitude as well as their academic achievement. This is while also promoting their social adjustment and better behavior.

Theme 5: Teaching Strategies

In order to accommodate the various needs and the abilities of SEN students, there was the adoption of inclusive education approach. This entailed changes in organization process of the curriculum and the teaching strategies. Through the adoption of the approach, schools build their capacity of accepting and educating all children, with inclusion of those with special education needs within mainstream education classrooms (Pijl, et al. 2010). The process is thus, focused on accepting all pupils within the local community and consequently reducing the exclusion of pupils with special education needs. Therefore, inclusion addresses and responds to the diverse needs that learners have by increasing their learning participation (Hornby and Lafaele 2011). Through the literature research, it has influenced on the understanding that the effectiveness of inclusive mainstream schooling is through the school professionals working together with the parents in order to assist children with SEN realize their educational objectives. This is particularly as noted in the study by Afolabi (2014) that the aspect of parental involvement is a great strategy towards an effective practice for an inclusive education. As a result, it is critical in the education of learners who have special educational needs. This is through the special needs children being in a position to have an access to the curriculum through provision map.

The work by MacKichan (2013) is, therefore, of significant contribution in shaping the literature in relation to the issue. MacKichan recognizes that the teaching mechanism which seeks to promote parental involvement towards the development of the provision map is essential towards the attainment of children education success. As a result of the educators taking into account the opinions of the parents in the process of developing provision maps, the learning process will demonstrate the existence of collaboration between the parents and the educators. As further acknowledged by Bailli (2015) the existence of parental involvement in school has a great impact in relation to the achievement of an inclusive education among those children with SEN. This is especially because the special needs children are often unable to raise their voice so as to fight for the protection of their rights. The literature has thus, shaped the research especially in regard to developing an understanding of how to accommodate the different learning rates and styles, thus, ensuring equality in the provision of quality education (Corner and Haynes 2001). In this case, therefore, the major factors that can be taken into consideration is organizational arrangement, the use of appropriate curricula and the existence of collaboration with the local community.

Theme 6: Assessment of Achievement

There exists a variety of ways in which academic knowledge of special needs children can be increased. Young children with special needs manifestation of issues in regard to their self-esteem and motivation are the known aspects that builds the study. As depicted in the study by Lai and Vadeboncoeur (2012), it is essential for parents to recognize the progress and achievement of the children. This is particularly because the approach will significantly assist towards the improvement of the confidence and self-image of SEN children, and consequently being an encouragement to them to be positively engaged on their class activities. In this case, therefore, the parents can play a great role through informal assessments can offer recognition opportunities towards promoting the achievement of SEN children (Khajehpour and Ghazvim 2011). Effective parental involvement in assessment of the children can be noted through their ability to successfully complete their homework and classroom assignments. The assessments involves the development of goals that are achievable to all the students, with inclusion of those with special needs, and hence positively encouraging the children who exhibit some difficulties (MacKichan 2013). On the other hand, the teachers can assess students’ portfolio as a way of tracking their progress and acquire some evidence for learning.

Significance of Parental involvement in education of SEN children

The study work by Horn and Lafaele (2011) demonstrates that the element of parental involvement within their children education is of great significance towards the achievement of effective education. This is mainly influenced by PI such as supervising the children homework, listening as they read, as well as being in attendance of parent education workshops, and also being present in schools’ parent-teacher meetings. In this case, therefore, the study builds from known aspects of parental involvement such as facilitation of learning at home, existence of communication with the school, school volunteering, and also participation in school decision-making (Vandegrift and Green 2002).

Driessen et al. (2005) further demonstrates that with increased parental involvement, the social and cognitive functioning of the children is positively impacted and consequently contributing towards better well-being of the child. Additionally, through the aspect of parental motivation, the children will demonstrate increased desire to perform well and realize their target objective (Sapungan, et al. 2014). This eventually leads to their improved academic achievement. Moreover, the quality of special needs children education is enhanced with the existence of cooperation between the teachers and the parents. This is because with the involvement, it promotes the identification of the specific needs of the children. A greater emphasize will thus be placed in addressing their weaknesses within the classroom (Blazer 2005). In this case, therefore, once the teachers are well-informed on the particular learner needs, they can be in a position to design a functional curriculum that will target to address relevant learner demands. As result of the collaborative process between the parent and the teacher, an improved outcome of the children with SEN will be attained within the classroom setting (MacKichan 2013). The contributed towards improved learning process will be facilitated by the fact that the teachers will focus on the provision of a relevant curricula as well as relevant materials, thus increasing motivation of children with SEN and promotes good performance.

Parental involvement barriers

The findings in the study by Campbell (1995) illustrates that, regardless of the significant benefits associated with parental involvement to both the children, the school as well as the parents. It however exhibits some drawbacks due its role in causing conflicts between the parents and school staff due to their mismatch in their views concerning the children and their needs. Moreover, there is lack of effective parental involvement where the parents are of the view that their children are in a position to realize more academically, or the teachers demanding more support from home in backing what the children learned at school (Mannan & Blackwell, 1992). As further observed in the study by, parents’ ability to demonstrate active involvement in education of their children is greatly impacted where there exist a negative teachers’ attitude as well as where there exist limited parent resources.

The work by Lall et al. (2004) recognizes the relationship between the parents and the school as a major barrier towards promoting parental involvement. This is particularly because the relationship is strained incase schools perceive that they are being unfairly criticized, with the parents feeling patronized and unwelcome. On the other hand, Afolabi (2014) illustrates that obstacles in parental involvement can be experienced where the parents possess low levels of education. As a result, they are less likely to have an engagement in their children learning as they exhibit low self-efficacy and the required confidence to get involved with the school staff. This is particularly influenced by their lack of knowledge of the school system, and their poor understanding of learning terminology, as well as their unawareness on the local and national policy. This is further acknowledged in the study by O’Hehir and Savelsberg (2014) who observes that aspects such as poor parental literacy, and work commitments which make them not to have any time for their children.

Ho (2013) concurs with the perspective and demonstrates that heavy workload presents challenges towards existence of communication with their schools which is worsened by their sense of inadequacy. The major reason in this case is that most parents lack the required skills to assist children in the process of their socialization and learning since they do not have any knowledge on child educational development (Mannan & Blackwell 1992). A further challenge exists due to parents lack of confidence procedural and legal knowledge in order for them to effectively assert their responsibilities in relation to the process of special education. This consequently leads to their inability to carry out appropriate measures where schools fail to promote the required inclusivity within the classroom environment. Also, regardless of policymakers’ desire to enhance parental involvement, the lack of willingness by some of the parents to be involved negatively impacts towards parental involvement (O’Hehir and Savelsberg 2014).

The failure of schools to coordinate between child’s Education, Health, and Care (EHC) plan, and the lack of SEN school staff who are experienced forms a significant barrier in parental involvement on their children education. Additionally, major barriers towards parental involvement comprise lacking respect in regard to parent view, parents lack encouragement to participate in their children’s decision making, parents compliant being inappropriately handled, and the lack of feedback in the progress of child while at school (MacKichan 2013). In this case, the study builds from the perspective that most parents are unable to recognize the difficulties that their children with special needs experience and the ways in which schools can adjust from their segregated teaching approaches. This is particularly with consideration that schools need to undergo reformation and consider pedagogy needs as a way of improvement in order to positively respond to the diversity of the children.

Approaches towards overcoming parental involvement barriers

Parental involvement being considered as an essential resource towards school improvement, various approaches can be established towards the realization of positive home-school relationships. According to the study by Khan (1996) focus should be towards parental empowerment. This particularly through being equipped with the relevant knowledge and the required skills so that they can be in a position to broadly address educational issues which is negatively impacted by their illiteracy. Additionally, the established policies emphasize on the need for professionals to provide support to the parents in order to positively promote their empowerment. The mechanism towards fulfilment of the strategy is by encouraging the parents to play an active role in the education of their child. This can be promoted through their demonstration of some understanding concerning their child’s entitlement especially with the SEN framework (Blok et al. 2007). Additionally, the parents should focus on making their views recognized especially in regard to the approach of educating their children. Furthermore, parental involvement can be promoted once they have more access to information and being offered with appropriate advice during the assessment of their children (Lall et al. 2004).

Moreover, the development of home-school interdependency can play an essential role in addressing parental involvement barriers and is especially through the involvement of at-risk families. As observed in the study by Linotos (1991), risk-programs should be on the basis of awareness of the joint responsibility and dependence between families and schools. Also, developed programs should emphasize on parents’ strengths and focus on valuing them in order to promote their success. The acknowledgement of the approach by the author aims at enhancing parental involvement by motivating their involvement in education of their children. The major motivation in this case is particularly because the parents will feel encouraged once their input is recognized and valued. Furthermore, the study by Ho (2013) recognizes that overcoming parental constraints within schools can be addressed by devolving substantial authority to the parents, thus, leading to more openness in the establishment of partnerships among the teachers and results in high likelihood of increased parental involvement.

The research work by Lai and Vadeboncoer (2012) further acknowledges that parental involvement can be enhanced through proper defining of home-school partnerships. The approach focuses on the development of effective partnerships by ensuring the existence of variations of the parents and the educators responsibilities and roles. In this case, the literature is shaped with the understanding that not every parent demonstrates an equal amount of knowledge as well as time to in relation to their contribution. Therefore, the development of the partnerships is focused towards allowing varying contributions on the basis of the given parent strengths as well as their resources (O’Hehir and Savelsberg 2014). This is with objective of also making sure that teachers on the other hand are well supported and provided with required resources for their effective task performance.

Increasing parental involvement

The development of an effective and efficient relationships between the parents and the educational professionals can greatly impact in increasing parental involvement level. As demonstrated in the study by Marrow & Malin (2004) the effectiveness of the relationship is more realized once they are a representation of a true relationship. In this case, therefore, the study is build with the understanding that parents cannot be forced to demonstrate an involvement with the education of their children. On the contrary, it can be encouraged by facilitating a positive school-parent partnership. The author recognizes the existence of mutual trust, shared planning and decision-making and trust and honesty as key characteristics towards effective partnership and enhanced parental involvement (MacKichan 2013).

The study by Hornby (2011) illustrates that where teachers exhibit positive attitudes towards parental involvement, more parents are encouraged and consequently increases parental involvement effectiveness. In this case, therefore, welcoming the input teachers as well as other educational experts greatly contributes towards an increase in parental involvement. Also, the report by department of education (DfE 2011) proposing on the need to provide more control to the parents as well as extending and increasing their confidence is a great strategy towards increasing level of parental involvement. According to the report, local authorities and schools should focus on offering the parents with support and ensuring clear communication greatly contributes to an increase in parental involvement (Park, S. & Holloway 2013).

Conclusion

As parental involvement is recognized as a critical force in promoting learning and development of children, parents and school should focus on working together in order to realize success of children both while in school and later in their life (Hornby and Lafaele 2011). Despite the acknowledgement of the significant benefits associated with parental involvement, there however exist challenges due to the various barriers that negatively impact on parental involvement. In this case, therefore, more focus should be placed in order to strengthen legislation and policies with the objective of promoting parental involvement in the education of children with special education needs. This is especially through promotion of inclusivity and the parents being adequately provided with information concerning their expectations in education of children with special needs (Afolabi 2014). Therefore, through the recognition of the imperative role towards inclusive education, greater impact will be realized in the achievement of educational goal among children with special needs. Additionally, through the study, the educators should seek to explore more approaches of provide more support to the children who can likely be segregated within the mainstream schools due to their special needs.

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