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Title: Mothers' and teachers' perceptions of social and independence skills in adolescents with moderate learning difficulties
Author: Middleton, Judith Ann
Awarding Body: Institute of Education, University of London
Current Institution: UCL Institute of Education (IOE)
Date of Award: 1987
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Parents as partners was one of the cornerstones of the 1981 Education Act, emphasizing the importance of parental views and involvement in the education of children with special needs. Recent research suggests that mothers and teachers may disagree over the social and independence skills of handicapped children, although the direction of the disagreement is equivocable. The present study looked at 19 young adolescents (12 - 15 years) with moderate learning difficulties and 18 normal adolescents from a total of 7 Inner London schools. The aim of the study was to look at mothers' and teachers' perceptions of these children and see how their perceptions related to children's interactions with mothers and teachers. The children were observed in their classrooms with their teachers and at home with their mothers for an hour. Subsequently mothers and teachers completed a questionnaire relating to specific social and independence skills of these children. Finally a repertory grid was used to explore the frame of reference mothers and teachers used when judging children as socially mature. Results showed that there was little relationship between the way either set of children behaved at home and at school. Interactions between children with moderate learning difficulties and adults tended to be characterised by control and resistance; those between normal children and adults by care, initiation and acceptance. Although the two groups of children did not behave differently at school, teachers behaved differently towards the two groups. There was very little agreement between mothers' and teachers' ratings of both groups of children in specific social and independence skills. Both mothers and teachers rated children with moderate learning difficulties as less competent than normal children in a number of areas, generally those where there might be an element of danger or where the skill was complex. 3 Despite construing social maturity in the same way, mothers and teachers rated children with moderate learning difficulties differently, with mothers seeing them as more mature. Yet when compared with normal children, mothers rated their handicapped children as immature. Teachers rated children with moderate learning difficulties as immature. Additional analysis showed that certain constructs had very different implications for mothers and teachers, which might explain their lack of agreement. The results are discussed in terms of the importance of a shared understanding of this group of children, particularly in view of the increasingly important role of parents in the process of education of children with special needs.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available