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

Natalija LISAK, Daniela BRATKOVIĆ, Tena ANIĆ

Abstract


Introduction: The Convention on the Rights
of Persons with Disabilities (UN, 2006) confirms
the right of children with disabilities to
take part in the regular educational system.
Social context determines the extent to which
this right is actually fulfilled, and the social
model and principles of inclusion emphasise
society’s responsibility to fulfill this right.
Objectives: This qualitative study aimed to
document, from parents’ perspectives, how
significant events and factors in the social context
in Croatia shape the educational experiences
of children with disabilities.
Methods: Using the narrative approach, we
collected the life course histories of parents
of children with disabilities from three
Croatian regions, and data was analysed using
the Life Event History Chart Model.
Results: Parents reported several factors
that negatively influenced their children’s
educational experiences: parental lack of
information concerning rights and available support, lack of strong support from teachers, lack of coordinated assessment and support for educational inclusion, incomplete teams of school experts, lack of financial support from the local government, insufficient cooperation of schools with education

and rehabilitation experts, and failure to effectively
implement legislation. On the other
hand, parents pointed to the positive effects
of activism in non-governmental organisations
that bring together parents of children
with disabilities.
Conclusion: This research addresses the role of
Croatian society in the educational system and
provides recommendations that should be taken
into account to ensure a good quality of education
for children with disabilities in this social
context.


Keywords


social model of disability, educational system, families of children with disabilities, narrative approach

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