Title: To explore mothers’ and teachers’ perspectives on the importance of inclusion and support for children with Down Syndrome in Kuwaiti mainstream kindergarten.
Category: Research Paper
Sub Category: Dissertation
Subject: Research Methods
Down syndrome is the most prevalent chromosomal illness, which is characterized by trisomy of chromosome 21. (Ferreira, et al., 2016) Children’s facing issue of down syndrome have an increased incidence of cognitive impairment and health problems, including congenital cardiac malformations, breathing problems, and intestinal diseases, as well as craniofacial troubles (Ferreira, et al., 2016; Graves, et al., 2016). The National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) of 2019 reveals that one in 700 children in the United States have been born with Down Syndrome and more than 400,000 individuals in the united states live with Down Syndrome. So today the general health conditions in people with Down syndrome can be treated, the average lifespan of sufferers with down syndrome has increased significantly from 25 in 1983 to 60 at present (NDSS, 2020).
Over than last two decades evidence from North American countries suggests possible inclusion of children with down syndrome in mainstream education has been supported by the law intended to equip them with individual guidance in the regular school rooms (MacFarlane & Marks Woolfson, 2013). This study focuses on the inclusion of children with down syndrome into mainstream schooling. Abraham and Puri (2004) described mainstream schools as “Education for All in a School for All (disabled and non-disabled children learning together in regular schools: learning to know, learning to do, learning to be, and learning to live together).” Children having disability due to down syndrome may communicate and learn through screaming, gazing, and gesturing depending on the seriousness and therapies they are getting. Practices from developing countries of Europe, UK and US suggests that it is hard to involve the children with DS in mainstream school systems. As children with DS need special consideration and therefore, school education and the special education system might have to be changed in accordance with them. (Ainscow, Dyson, & Booth, 2006) Inclusive education carries with the difficulties that are associated with the other kids in the school as well as their parents.
Hughes, (2006) states that approproate educations aims to provide inclusive settings for children wih down syndrome as mainstream education provides 20-30 hours weekly additional learning support assistance. Even though inclusive education is currently the main component of any legislation, but it is very challenging to alter the mentality of people about special needs children. The Salamanca statement requested that the need for planning mainstream schools to admit children with special learning needs in all states across the globe. Therefore, it urges nations to approve the concept of inclusive education (Ainscow et al., 2006). The study is motivated by the rationale to investigate the perceptions and awareness of teachers and mothers of the importance of inclusion for children into kinder garden program with disability of Down Syndrome. Furthermore, the study will analyse whether the support provided by mainstream kindergarten school are sufficient to address the shortfalls associated with down syndrome.
To define inclusive education, it may be listed as a approach which focuses on the education requirements of all students. Inclusive education is a tool that enables children who have special needs to endure and get an education, instruction, and learning in any manner in mainstream schools (Mathur & Koradia, 2018). Inclusive education involves all students, for instance, children with various abilities study and grow up together by gain access to their pre-school facilities, educational institutions, and community educational environments with a corresponding network of ancillary services. And this would be possible only under a flexible schooling system that is prepared to integrate the requirements of a wide variety of students and then modify themselves to comply with the particular needs of all the children. A system like this does not only assist the children but also all the interested parties such as the parents, society, teachers as well as decision-makers to deal with the great variety positively and to regard it as a vigorous and encouraging task instead of a serious dilemma (Mathur & Koradia, 2018).
Nevertheless, the education system should not only focus on increasing the number of special children enrolment but also focus on their involvement in the learning process (Ainscow et al., 2006). Several past studies have demonstrated that when children with down syndrome enrolled in the mainstream education system, it was observed some improvement in the academic performance of such children. For instance, Wolpert (2001) conducted a study in the USA and revealed that parents of children with DS said that because of inclusion their kids had succeeded in development effectiveness in many abilities. For instance, public inclusion, self-confidence, individuality in the accomplishment of regular tasks, and academic achievement. The aim of my research is to explore mothers’ and teachers’ perspectives on the importance of inclusion and support for children with Down Syndrome in Kuwaiti mainstream kindergarten.
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According to education policy of Kuwait, schooling is mandatory for the children from the age group of 6 to 14 as free of cost primary and secondary education is available for children of all Kuwaiti citizen. Education policy of Kuwait for disable children states that private and model schools are not allowed to enrol children with disability and should be accommodated through distance education which has resulted in resentments amongst parents and activist. Parents have widely critized the decision of ministry stating absence of clear educational plan to deal with Kuwaiti disable children’s who require education, rehabilitation and training like other students attending mainstream schooling. (Zawya, 2020)
Likewise, in Kuwait children with Down Syndrome have the right to get education in mainstream kindergarten like children without disabilities. Consequently, this could provide “social justice”, which is in line with the Salamanca Statement that requires signatories to provide more effective educational responses for all children, regardless of their characteristics, within the context of general educational provision (UNESCO, 1994). Kuwait is a signatory to the UNESCO Salamanca Statement, which requires states to move towards systems “enabling schools to serve all children”. Therefore, a ministerial decision was issued by the Kuwaiti government on the 18th of May 1997 allowing the enrolment of children with Down Syndrome in mainstream kindergarten (Ministry of Education, 2008).
Even though inclusive education is not a new concept in Kuwait, followers of such education consider children with special learning needs can accomplish miracles in the mainstream educational curricula given they are offered extra benefits and services. In the state of Kuwait, use the term ‘’kindergarten’’ as a replacement (synonym) for the level of ‘’reception’’ in the primary schools in the United Kingdom. The mainstream kindergarten in The State of Kuwait is usually based on its own as a separate building with a separate administration. In addition to the children without disabilities in the mainstream Kindergarten schools, they are willing to receive three groups of special needs children that are (children with Down’s syndrome, MLD, and children with SpLD). The study will focus on including Down Syndrome in mainstream kindergarten in a Kuwait setting.
The system of mainstream schools at the Kindergarten years in Kuwait receives children from both genders (boys and girls) from (4 – 5) years old and takes two years in consistent of two levels of studies (level one at year one – level two at year two). However, they are receiving children with Down Syndrome of both gender (boys and girls), (4.5 – 7 years old) for a period of three years under the supervision of female teachers.
In addition, the Kuwaiti mainstream schools with Down Syndrome at the Kindergarten years have a different system from that of the UK. In the state of Kuwait, children with Down Syndrome have separate special classes with private teachers who have the qualification to be able to teach and deal with them. Yet, some mainstream kindergartens have special classes for Down Syndrome, but the government is keen to distribute them, in order to serve all areas of Kuwait. The government provided the most important facilities that they could need. They are also allowed to be integrated with children without disability at assembly time, breakfast time, and some other activities. Further, the system in the State of Kuwait allows their parents to have the full right of choosing between the mainstream kindergarten or the special needs schools provided by the government and free of fees.
As a Kuwaiti kindergarten teacher, current situation prospect that many families in Kuwait who have child with down syndrome would prefer to put their children in private kindergarten rather than mainstream kindergartens. This could be according to many reasons, such as that the government in the State of Kuwait is responsible for the expenses of studying children with Down Syndrome in the event that the private kindergarten is chosen by the parents, and the awareness of some other parents are yet about the importance of the inclusion system. However, because of the lack of research on including children with down syndrome in mainstream kindergarten, it is reasonable to question the Kuwaiti teachers and mothers about their perspective towards the inclusion of children with down syndrome condition. The present study focuses on the extent to which mothers and teachers know the importance of inclusion especially in the early years which is important in the life of the child in which he acquires the basic skills.
In order to address this aim, the following research questions were asked.
- What are the perceptions and awareness of teachers and mothers of the importance of inclusion for children with Down Syndrome?
- Why mothers prefer to choose mainstream kindergarten?
- What is the support provided for children with Down Syndrome in mainstream kindergarten and is it sufficient?
- How does inclusion affect the children with down syndrome from viewpoint of mothers and teachers?
I am interested in this area and I want to explore the mothers’ and teachers’ perspectives on the importance of inclusion and support for children with Down Syndrome in Kuwaiti mainstream kindergarten. The present study is divided into five chapters which are included as follows:
Chapter 1 presents the framework of the research, which covers the general background, contemporary issue, rationale, and research intentions. Furthermore, provides a brief explanation of the research questions, the aims, study significance and explains the structure of the study.
Chapter 2 represents will Literature review of some relevant studies covering research of Children with Down syndrome, Inclusive education, Mainstream school, Perspectives of Mothers towards Inclusion, and Perspectives of teachers towards Inclusion. Analysis of literature and empirical evidence from the previous studies will create rationale for the development of research preposition using Interpretive research philosophy.
Also, in chapter 3 I will highlight the research methodology adopted for the study to be carried out, includes research design, style, methods, processes, and measurement techniques. Furthermore, this chapter will describe data collection methods as well as procedures to develop the instrumentation for data collection in the form of semi structural interviews. Furthermore, chapter three will present the Grounded theory to test the pre-existing research preposition as well as proposes the model of inclusion of children with down syndrome.
Moreover, chapter 4 will be about data analysis, data presentation, and its interpretation. This chapter will present the results of the study in the form of tabulated data solutions. Additionally, chapter four measures the validity and reliability of the primary data to ensure that the measures support the specified theoretical construct or not and brief discussions have been incorporated to interpret each table.
Finally, chapter 5 will represent discussion, describe the consistencies and discrepancies with the research prepositions compares the study outcomes with the relevant literature review. The discussion and conclusion chapter plays an important role in the attainment of the study objectives. Furthermore, in chapter five I will conclude the study and summarizes the accomplishment level of the objectives of the current study, suggests several recommendations for the Parents and teachers of Children with DS, and provides the agenda for further studies conducted in the future in the area that could not cover in the present research.
Down Syndrome known as a mental disability among children from the time of birth. It may rarely happen genetically or due to trisomy. Children born with impairments are sometimes considered a burden for society and the family. Multiple countries are working on the well-being and care providing facilities to such children and for supporting their families. These kids have mostly very low learning abilities and therefore special schools are established for these children in Kuwait. Teachers and parents have different opinions regarding this suggestion. This chapter evidence different studies that give us the parents and teachers responses about the inclusion of children with down-syndrome in regular educational institutes. Thus, it is significant to examine extensive intervening inclusion approaches is critical, considering the aim to educate students having special requirements in the minimum restricted atmosphere (Crosland & Dunlap, 2012; Strain & Bovey, 2011). Odom, Boyd, Hall, and Hume, (2010) recommend two intervention classifications, “focused intervention practices” and “comprehensive models of treatment.”. Detailed treatment approaches are defined as a series of applications planned over a prolonged period to capture wider training or a progressive effect on the basic deficiencies caused by down syndrome (Odom, Boyd, Hall, & Hume, 2010; Strain, Schwartz, & Barton, 2011).
Down Syndrome (DS):
The term down syndrome was first diced by, John Langdon Down in 1866 as a congenital condition which is present at the birth caused by the extra copy of chromosome number 21 in body cells which results in extra cell division caused by the full or partial copy of copy of chromosome number 21 also referred as trisomy. According to Asim et al., (2015) DS causes numerous learning disabilities s, craniofacial abnormality and hypotonia during early infancy. Furthermore, DS causes various physical conditions which significantly varies amongst individuals in the form of slanted eye, poor muscle tone, small chin, flat nasal bridge, small mouth, large tongue and abnormal pattern of finger prints.
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Inclusion of Children with Down Syndrome
The inclusion of children with developmental disabilities in conventional educational settings has been internationally supported and facilitated through studies over the past two decades by legislation. (MacFarlane & Woolfson, 2013; Lindsay, 2007). After decades of exclusion of children with intellectual disabilities from normal mainstream schools, Arab countries have recently entered the global trend towards more inclusive education (IE) for these children, like many developing countries (Gaad, 2010). However, the realistic translation of this policy into actual inclusive practice at the classroom level remains a daunting challenge, amid policies supporting IE and the prevalence of full inclusion rhetoric in these countries. More than two decades ago, in some Arab countries, IE was launched as a pilot project involving a limited number of schools in countries such as Jordan, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt. Much of the programs are aimed at delivering remedial and special education facilities in resource rooms at regular schools.
From the end of the 19th century, a wider view of IE started finding its path to more states of the region (Gaad, 2010; Weber, 2012). Presently, in many Arab states, the education ministry started choosing strategies guidelines for the implementation of IE. The most influencing four factors of this movement of Arabian states towards many inclusive institutes were: the UNESCO World Declaration on Education for All (EFA) in 1990, the Salamanca Statement and Framework for Action on Special Needs Education in 1994, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities that was adopted in 2006, and international literature on IE particularly Western journals and other publications. Thought, the strategy makers of Arab education, special education experts, authors, and guardians have not agreed on the definition, nature, and span of IE (M.Anati & Ain, 2012; Weber, 2012). IE as expected and implied in Arabian states does not have the similar means necessarily and theme as that of IE explained in the International Literature (ALDAIHANI, 2011). In the Arab zone, the words’ ‘normalization”, “integration”, “mainstreaming”, “least restrictive climate”, and” inclusion” are alternatively being utilized till now. There is no consistent or simple IE definition widely used in Arab countries; the definitions used are fairly generalized or random. Although IE is described by some decision-makers from Arab and teachers as a policy for assuring education for all, others see it as educating in regular classrooms to all pupils having disabilities, or more famously as teaching only kids having certain kinds of impairments in regular educational environments (Alghazo & Gaad, 2004; Weber, 2012). Thus, while Arab special teachers mostly utilize the term inclusion and the associated academic jargon, present authors argue that Arabian states are attempting for educating a growing number of kids having minor impairments in a “less restrictive” instead of a “least restrictive” study atmosphere.
These countries, like most developed countries, continue to face difficulties in reforming their education systems and transforming them into inclusive systems, despite the efforts made in educating children with intellectual disabilities in Arab countries in recent years (Gaad, 2010). And now, in these countries, the vast majority of children with intellectual disabilities do not receive an education adequate to their needs or do not receive any education at all. Both inclusive or segregated, very large numbers of children continue to be excluded from education. The causes for exclusion are critical and nuanced, but are widely targeted on the stigma of disability; prevalent negative views and perceptions; poverty; and absence of approach to education, specifically in rural areas (Peters, 2009). Most government institutes in Arabian states are left unable and badly established to benefit disabled children with educational services.
It is a difficult task to try to review and survey the literature on the inclusion of kids having progressive impairments in Arabian countries. First of all, there are 22 Arab states with a total population of approximately 370 million (World Bank, 2014). Though such countries have multiple common characteristics, their diplomatic, ethnic, financial, societal, and religious traditions still differ tremendously. Moreover, in these nations, there are major differences in the educational systems. Also, the absence of reliable and upgraded limitations and special education data and relevant programs are some of the region’s most important challenges (Thani, 2006). Similarly, there is a lack of reliable data and detailed statistics on IE in the area (Weber, 2012). Finally, because of the lack of precise databases offering online access, researchers face enormous challenges in surveying literature written in the Arabic language. In the area, several research reports are paper-based without online copies.
Inclusion of Children with Down Syndrome in Kuwait
Kuwait is a small country in Arabian Peninsula with the population of 3 million amongst which 2 million are Kuwaiti nationals. There are 18 ministries which administering country affairs amongst which Ministry of Education is responsible for administering mainstream and special education program. Education system in Kuwait is dominated by private and public education where public educational institutes are directly governed by Ministry whereas some special education institutes are mostly governed by Public. There are four levels of education in Kuwait which includes (a) kindergarten, (b) elementary schools, (c) intermediate schools and (d) high school. The concept of mainstream schooling is gender segregated apart from kindergarten. Kuwait Article 40 Mandatory Education Law number 1965/11, sheds light on inclusion of children as article 4 suggests that all children must receive equal treatment irrespective of any disability. Ministry of education launched SEN department under Compulsory Education Law 1965 which categorically suggests that children with sensory, motor and mental disabilities can be enrolled in special schools. Special schools in Kuwait are similar to m mainstream schooling with gender segregation. Reflection from policies and reforms suggests that Kuwait is the first country in Arab peninsula to emphasize on the idea of inclusion as being a member of UNESCO and Cairo Declaration suggests that Kuwait is interested in fighting against discrimination of children with SEN and emphasized that ideology of inclusion in education system can produce fruitful results by making children’s with SEN a productive citizen of country.
In 1981, educating children with Down syndrome (DS) gained importance In Kuwait as ministry themselves have a child with DS where children were included in special classes in mainstream schooling. In 1889, Ministry of Education categorized SEN into motor, visual and down syndrome whereas 86 children were initially inducted which increased to 200 children’s in five different mainstream schools in Kuwait. This new experiment was subject to numerous challenges which included integration challenges, lack of human resource, lack of collaboration, lack of teacher’s motivation.
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