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The purpose of this research was to investigate parental style and its effect on children with special education needs in some selected secondary schools in Buea municipality southwest region of Cameroon. The main objective of the study was to find out the parental styles and their effect on children with special needs, the research questions were further transformed in to research hypothesis.


The population was made of form one and two students with a special need, with a sampled population of 30 students from three secondary schools in Buea municipality. The study instrument employed a structured questionnaire for data collection. The study instrument was pilot tested and equally subjected to Cronbach’s alpha coefficient using SPSS statistics to establish their validity and reliability.


As a result of the findings, there was a significant relationship between parenting style and children with special needs. this means that for children with special needs to succeed academically parenting style must be taken into consideration such as spending enough time with them, assisting them with their assignments.


It was, therefore, recommended that parents should encourage the education of persons with special education needs by providing their needs, spent enough time them, assist them in assignments, used motivational strategies and affected quality to boost their psychology about disabilities, the study also recommends the government to come up with television shows and radio program on parental styles and children with special educational needs which is going to addressed matters concerning this set of children.






1.0 Introduction


This chapter focuses on the introduction to the study, historical background, conceptual, theoretical, statement of the problem, research questions, hypotheses, justification, significance, the scope of the study, and definition of terms.


(EADSNE, 2010) Parenting styles refer to the ways parents raise their children up so that they are either productive or not in society. In order words, parenting styles are the ways parents take care of children which can have an impact on the child’s personality development and the ways of interacting with social and close relationships. Some peoples say that parenting styles are determined by the level of their education.


Educated parents understand the demand for education better and so are better placed to assist their children even if they were disabling. Besides, social status determines the parent’s styles in the child’s education. By social status we mean, the position and privileges parents may hold in society.


People think that when parents are highly placed there is a tendency for them to lift their children to a similar or higher position in society. Even some parents in their lower status crave for their children to reach higher heights so as to salvage their misery and push them to get involved in the education of their children no matter their disabilities.


Conversely, when the level of effectiveness is low, it will create an environment of animosity, hatred, and mutual suspicion between the parent and the child. In this kind of environment, the level of receptivity of the child has to below.


Parenting styles, quality of a parent and adolescent relationship have impacts on the child with the special educational need (SEN). This is so because, as parents guide their children from complete infertile dependence to the beginning stage of autonomy, their styles of care can have both immediate and lasting effects on how children with special educational need functions.




 1.1 Background to the study


Historically, parenting style can be traced as far back as 1800. Some 75 years ago approximately research has been investigating how individual differences in general parenting practices might influence child development rather than focusing on specific parent practices such as (breast vs. bottle feeding or physical punishment versus time out). These researchers have tried to identify the child development correlate of general cross-situational variation in general parenting approach often referred to as parenting style or dimensions.


Special Needs Education in Cameroon actually started in informal settings especially in the family circle where parents could teach their local dialects, use local currency in buying and selling as it was one of the main occupations in the early days (Shey 2003).


Nsamenang (1996) in his sketch in a proposed study of disabilities in Cameroon, points out that historically education and care for children with disabilities is rooted in the community, church, and charitable organizations. Some special needs children with talents in Cameroon and indeed the world over have lived and died without education.


Many have also lived and died, unknown and perhaps unwanted, the loss of their talents of the detriment of the society (Abang, 1981). This expectation is a bit difficult for persons with special needs due to their handicapping conditions. Educators and laymen alike having recognized the special needs of such children, youths and adults, have designed a number of programs (educational and non-educational) to give appropriate assistance in a variety of ways.


Traditional beliefs, customs, and attitudes held by different ethnic groups in Cameroon have for a long time influenced the education and socialization of persons with special educational needs, Yuh & Shey (2008). In some parts of the country, children with disabilities were and are still denied their basic rights especially the right to go to school, communicate and interact with peers in spite of global movement towards universalization of access to schooling for all children (world’s conference on education for all, Jomtien, Thailand, 1990; Salamanca conference on special need education, Spain 1994; millennium development goals, 2000).


The right to education is clearly stated in the Universal Declaration of human rights (UNESCO, 1946); “everyone has a right to education”. The participants in the world’s conference on education for all re-affirmed the right of all people to education, particularly, Basic education.


Special Education in Cameroon


The Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1946, made it out rightly clear that “everyone has a right to education” this declaration has been reaffirmed in different conferences all over the world like; the conference on education for all at Jomtien. Thailand 1990, the Salamanca conference on special needs education in Spain in 1994, and also in the Millennium Development Goals of 2000. These have played a vital role in the improvement of special education in Cameroon.


At Jomtien in Thailand, all participants reaffirm the right of all people to education. “this is the foundation of our determination singly and together to ensure education for all.


All governments’ worried, organization individuals, to join in this urgent undertaking. Thus basic learning needs of all can and must be met. We adopt therefore this world declaration on education for all meeting basic, learning needs to achieve the goals set forth in this declaration (UNESCO, Jombien, Thailand, 1990)”. It is worth noting that Cameroon was a signatory to these declarations and this alone changed the pace of special education in Cameroon.


In 1975, there was the creation of the ministry of social affairs. This was a great change in the perception of persons with disabilities in the country. This ministry in collaboration with the ministry of education worked to improve upon the education of persons with disabilities.


This saw the establishment of certain institutions or special schools to serve persons with specific disabilities for example; the rehabilitation center for the blind at Bulu in Buea (Commonly Known as Bulu Blind Centre), the Cameroon Baptist Convention integrated school for the blind at Kumbo, the Saint Joseph’s Children and adult home at Mambuh Bafut.


These centers were created to train young Cameroonians with visual impairment on certain basic issues in life. Kanu (2006) holds that special education globally is directed towards providing remediation to academic, social-emotional, vocational, and personal problems faced by anyone with disabilities.


She further stipulates that special education makes sure that, individuals with a disability do not get stranded because of the disability. She went ahead to state that with disability these individuals can still achieve their life’s dreams.


There is only one law in Cameroon that addresses the needs of persons with disabilities law NO 83/13 of July 1983 relating to the protection of the person with a disability.


Later in 1990, the condition for the implementation of this law was laid down in decree NO 90/1516 of 26th November 1990. These two documents form the foundation for strong government policy towards the education of persons with disabilities (Yuh and Shey, 2008).


According to this law, three options were given concerning the type of education to be given to these groups of persons:


Integration into ordinary schools

Admission into special classes

Admission into specialized institutions

Article I of this law clearly states that ‘the education of children and young adults with disabilities shall be taken care of in regular and special school. In case of necessity, regular schools enrolling children with disabilities shall be provided with special teachers and didactic materials adapted to the children’s needs. (MINAS 1990)


To ensure the proper digestion of the law, the Ministry of National Education issued a circular letter NO 86/11658/MINEDUC/CRZ of January 13th, 1986 calling on all national education authorities to implement the 1983 law by giving priority to easing and facilitating the enrolment of children with disabilities in public and private schools (MINAS).


It is worth noting that the problem in Cameroon today is the lack of follow-up and implementation of this policy (Yuh and Shey, 2008).


Despite the timid response of the government towards the educational plight of persons with visual impairment, there has been however a lot of improvement. Children with visual impairment are being educated mostly in special schools except for the government secondary school Bafut, where there is a high practice of inclusion. Most of the schools and special need centers are owned by missionary bodies, NGOs, and lay private


individuals. These institutions faced a serious shortage of trained and qualified staff and other basic requirements to effectively teach these children.


Today in our country, special education is a mandate, it merely exists. Most educators are not aware of the fact that persons with impairment ought to study alongside the normal in order to provide normal social interaction. The state should improvise a means of identifying children with disabilities and should work on improving their learning potentials.


The school exists to promote literacy, personal autonomy economic self-sufficiency, personal fulfillment, and citizenship. Thus the government through the schools prepares all students not just academically or physically capable to gain knowledge and apply what they learn in order to be productive workers and citizens. They should promote full participation for everyone regardless of race, cultural background, socio-economic status physical disabilities, or mental limitations (Michael, Clifford, and Winston, 2002).


Special education means specially designed instruction, teachers, classrooms provided at no cost to children with disabilities and their parents in all settings. IDEA stipulates that children with disabilities are to receive any related services necessary to ensure that they benefit from their educational experiences (such as; transportation, developmental correctives and other supportive services including speech and language pathology, the services of an audiologist, the services of psychologists, the services of a physiotherapist, the services of an occupational therapist, the services of a rehabilitation counselor, and more) and it is the place of the government of each country to know and make provisions for these services (Cunningham and Davis 1998).


Parents of children with disabilities in America and other European countries organized in order to lobby the government and policymakers for more appropriate social and educational services for their children (Michael et al, 2002). This principle is worthy of emulation.


The timid nature with which special education is evolving in Cameroon could be attributed to the following.


Ignorance: Some educational authorities, teachers, and parents are not aware of the law on the protection of persons with disabilities in Cameroon.

There is a gross lack of information and knowledge about various disabilities and visual impairment in particular.

Also, there is a lack of trained personnel who can really advocate and take care of the needs of these persons with disabilities.

There is also inadequate support from the government and other service providers and There is also the problem of high fees charged by special schools in the country since most of them are owned by private individuals.

As far as high education is concern out of the six state universities only the university of Buea faculty of education that offers a Bachelor and master degree program in special education and the department of linguistics in the university of Yaounde I organized a sign language training course for linguistics students and others using the American sign language (Yuh and Shey, 2008).


Apart from these, there is no other higher institution that offers such programs. Even in the various teacher training colleges, nothing is done to train to specialize teachers even though Cameroon was a signatory to the declarations at Jomtien and Salamanca. They seem to have forgotten the assertions of the world education forum in Daka (200) that “education is a fundamental factor for sustainable development, peace and stability within and among countries and thus an indispensable means for effective participation in societies and economies of the twenty-first century which are affected by rapid globalization”


Because the effort for the provision of special education in Cameroon is more by religious bodies and individuals, we will join Tchombe (2008) to say, there is a high need for partnership in the educational offering. This call was the main bone of contention at the Jomtien.


Thailand (1990) declaration, where they held that the new trend in community-based approach demonstrates that, rehabilitative activities require a community-based approach. The government’s role in the formulation of effective social policy provides an expanded vision that surpasses present resource levels that are institutional, structural, curricula, and conventional delivery system while building on best practices (Tcombe,2008).


NGOs and Children with Disabilities:


NGOs call on government and donors to prioritize schooling for children with disabilities. Some 40 international and national non-profit organizations launched a call to action on investing in disability-inclusive education; the joint call highlights the shocking fact that more than 32 million children with disabilities in developing countries are estimated to be out of school.


In the statement, the words leading NGO, working disability and education in developing countries, including light for the world and sight savers-together with the GLOBAL CAMPAIGN FOR EDUCATION (GCE), in International Disability Alliance (IDA) and others-call on governments and donors to significantly step up action to deliver on the promise of the sustainable development goals to ensure quality education for all children, by investing in inclusive education for boys and girls with disabilities.


They also commit to make education for children with disabilities in developing countries a top priority, advocating for better donor financing for inclusive education.


The campaign was initiated by the international disability and development consortium (IDDC) inclusive education task group. It follows the recent release of the costing equity report by the IDDC, led by light for the world and supported by Open Society Foundations and other international NGOs, on the financing of inclusive education for children with disabilities.


Access to good quality education helps people escape from poverty and provides the basis for long-term economic development. Like health, it is a basic human right, to which everyone is entitled.


In 2010, there were 61 million children of primary school age out of school: of these, it is estimated that about one-third live with a disability. Girls are more likely to be out of school than boys, so girls with disabilities face double discrimination.


There is a strong link between disability and marginalization in education. Despite significant increases in school participation over the last decade and efforts to reduce gender disparities, the concerning fact is that children with disabilities continue to be left behind. When children with disabilities are excluded from education, their future economic prospects are severely restricted, contributing to a cycle of inter-generational poverty as they establish their own households.


Special educational needs


About (2006) noted that proper attention has not been given to special needs education in terms of planning and organization. Its planning; organization and management have been characterized by lack of vision and commitment, inadequate funding, lack of cooperation among experts, negative attitudes influenced by traditional values, and culture.


The concept of special needs education such as what it is and how to deal with it in the developing world remains in a state of confusion. This may account for the poor provisions that have been made by the various governments.


In fact, the state of education for persons with disabilities in developing countries such as Cameroon has been a source of concern for professionals. (Alur, 2001; Potts, 2000; Villa, 2003) The provision for children with disabilities across developing countries has often been regarded as a privilege rather than a right (Alur, 2001).


Parenting style


Dean (1996) explains that parents who have children with disabilities have generally been found to welcome the idea that their children should be educated in mainstream or regular schools. This gives them the feeling that their children are nearer to normality and they get better preparation for adult life in a non-handicapped environment than would be in a special school setting.


Despite broad consensus about the effects of child development, many questions about the construct parenting style remain on answered particularly pressing issues are the variability’s in the effects of parenting style as a function of the child’s cultural background, the processes through which parenting style influences the child’s development and the operationalization of parenting style.




1.2 Theoretical background


Three theories will be used to inform the objective of the study, these theories include The social model of disability, Oliver’s theory of disability, Abraham Maslow’s theory of the hierarchy of need theory, and Carl Rogers self-theory.


Vygotsky Social Model of Disability (1993) This theory seeks to inform objective number one. This theory holds that disability is something imposed on top of our impairments by the way we are unnecessarily isolated and excluded from full participation in society.


Oliver’s theory of disability (1996) Oliver’s theory of disability seeks to inform research objective two, this theory state that, problems faced by people with disability are not caused tragedy but by the failure of the society to account for their needs and therefore the needs social needs, not charity (Oliver,1996).


Maslow’s Hierarchy of need theory (1943) this theory strives to explain the research objective number of the study. This theory focus on the physical, safe, loved, and esteem needs, the genius of the hierarchy is its concept of prepotency. A prep tent need is the one that has the greatest power or influence over our actions.




1.3 Statement of the problem


Following the characteristic of children with special needs, which often makes the parent protect them in all aspects of life if parents are not careful these children may turn to be very stubborn. Favourable parental style enables children with special educational needs to integrate into society in general, and into employment in particular, so that they may sustain themselves financially with dignity. Therefore, it is pertinent to promote an inclusive learning environment for them in learning institutions because they can learn from their peer “normal” resulting in academic success.


When parents learn that their child has a learning disability (LD), ‘they begin a journey that takes them into a life that is often filled with strong emotions and difficult choices’ (Kalek, 2008). (Flack, 2005) mentions inherent difficulties in defining learning disabilities, but presents ‘learners with special educational needs and what she describes as ‘the more in vogue, learners with barriers to learning as possible definitions.


Many parents are unacquainted with the insinuations of the types of parenting styles they embrace on the development of their children because it is important that all young children are healthy in all aspects. Taking a look at the causes of inappropriate social skill development, which is imperative to the future of the adolescent and society. When children have lack social skills, academic and peer success can be difficult.


Children with special educational needs, need assistance from their parents to which if the is a lack of parental involvement it may lead to poor academic performance. This is to say that, children with special educational need motivation and encouragement to be able to study and cope well in school. The problem of this study is how parents behave towards their children with special educational needs and how this behaviour affects their children’s education.




1.4 Objectives of the Study:


1.4.1 General objective


To find out parenting styles and their effects on children with special educational needs.


1.4.2 Specific Objective


1) To examine the impact of parental motivation and its effect on education on children with special educational needs.


2) To examine the time committed to taking care of children with special educational needs.


3) To examine the impact of the parental provision of needs (didactic materials or basic needs) so as to grant special access and aid to these children in their respective lacking’s.


4) To examine the impact of affectivity assistance giving to their children with special educational needs and its effect on the child.

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