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Street-connected children with communication disabilities and their caregivers in Western Kenya: experiences, beliefs and needs

Marshall, Julie and Taylor, Carol and Sotiropoulou Drosopoulou, Christina and Rochus, David (2019) Street-connected children with communication disabilities and their caregivers in Western Kenya: experiences, beliefs and needs. Disability and Rehabilitation. ISSN 0963-8288

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Abstract

ABSTRACT Purpose: Although street-connected children with communication disability have been identified in Western Kenya, little is currently known about the impact of communication disability on this group. In order to inform future service development, this qualitative study sought to understand the experiences, views and needs of street-connected children with communication disability, and of their caregivers at home and at school. Materials and methods: 13 children, 12 caregivers and 12 school-based Learning Support Assistants participated in interactive sessions, semi-structured interviews and focus groups respectively. Interviews were translated, transcribed and analysed thematically, using framework analysis. Results: Six main themes, with sub-themes, were identified: understanding and awareness of communication disability; the role of others; needs of the children and what might help; impact on those supporting the children; caregiver and Learning Support Assistant needs: support to better help the child; thoughts about the future. Participants’ responses highlighted the importance of improving others’ attitudes, awareness and willingness to adapt their communication, as well as a need for trusted relationships and some specialist help. Conclusion: Organisations working with street-connected children should take communication disability into account in their services and interventions. Input based on a social model of disability is likely to be acceptable.

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