An exploration of the perceptions of caregivers regarding the psychosocial support needs of hearing impaired children: A case study of the Usko Nghaamwa Special School in the Ohangwena region, Namibia.

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University of Namibia
This qualitative study was undertaken to explore the perceptions of caregivers regarding the psychosocial support of hearing impaired children at the Usko Nghaamwa Special School in the Ohangwena region of Namibia. Data were collected by means of semi-structured interviews by means of audio recordings and field notes. Five teachers and five parents were interviewed separately. The study established that the teachers had a better understanding of the necessary psychosocial support of children with hearing impairment, whereas the parents had little understanding of such support. Furthermore, teachers also indicated that parents lacked support and were not involved in the lives of these children. Some teachers indicated that they had not received training in sign language or special education. The study also found that there was no peer-to-peer support group for special educators. Parents indicated that they had little understanding of ways to deal with a hearing impaired child; they mostly ended up treating this child like a normal, hearing child. Parents indicated that some community members still lacked the skills necessary to accommodate deaf children. Parents indicated that they had not had any form of training in the way to handle a hearing impaired child or to communicate with such a child. Parents stated that there were not parent-to-parent support groups in their areas. As part of the possible solution, this study recommends that all teachers dealing with children with hearing loss should receive training in special education. Furthermore, parents with such children should receive basic training in sign language and organise parent-to-parent support groups. There should also be peer-to-peer support groups for teachers, while training in ways to handle and care for a child with hearing loss should be provided. Finally, this study informed the policy makers to address the psychosocial needs of the HI in general.
A thesis submitted in fulfilment of the requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts in Social Work
Psychosocial support, Children with hearing impaired, Caregivers, Children needs