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Title: Investigating the role of social media in supporting parents and teachers of students with Down's syndrome : focus on early intervention services in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Author: Al Shamare, Awatif Habeeb
ISNI:       0000 0004 7660 5209
Awarding Body: UCL(University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2019
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This study aimed to identify the role of social media in supporting parents and teachers working with children with Down's Syndrome (DS) in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), especially during the provision of early intervention services (EIS). A qualitative approach was adopted for data collection: semi-structured interviews were conducted with 12 participants (6 mothers and 6 teachers) who had experience in the use of social media. These face-to-face interviews were carried out in a daycare centre providing early intervention services in Riyadh. Thematic Analysis which is a flexible method that allows themes to emerge from the data was chosen to analyse the interviews. The findings highlighted the significance of social media in supporting parents and teachers in the provision of early intervention services for children with DS. The various platforms fulfilled the following functions: (1) provision of a realistic and unrestricted communication environment; (2) access and globalisation; (3) setting up of the family unit as a model for early intervention services; (4) influence on the traditional roles in Saudi society; (5) role activation of counselling, teamwork and volunteer work; (6) communication tool with the government; (7) increase in the level of awareness of Saudi society; (8) provision of a database on early intervention; (9) a tool for creativity and innovation; (10) an alternative to the lack of early intervention services in KSA. Furthermore, the study revealed the most important challenges and problems faced by parents and teachers when using social media. These can be divided into the following categories: religion and culture, family and health, politics and technical issues. Based on the findings, a framework was created to explain the role of social media in supporting parents and teachers in providing early EIS for DS children in the Saudi context. The general outcome of this study emphasises that social media is a reliable alternative solution to support the role of mothers and teachers in working with children with DS. It is also the most prominent, most widely accepted and preferred tool for learning and acquiring information about EIS. Finally, based on the results of this study, recommendations are put forward for the future "Vision 2030" Saudi government policies which plan to turn social media into one of the effective tools to provide EIS for children with DS and other disabilities.
Supervisor: Himonides, Evangelos Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available