04 SES 02 C, Putting Inclusion into Practice: The parents’ viewpoint
Pedagogy and psychoanalysis are mostly characterised by considerable mutual diffidence, forgetting the recognition of substantial affinities, including those of understanding and helping mankind. Psychoanalytic pedagogy – an expression coined by the Swiss protestant minister Oskar Pfister in 1913 – represents a highly interesting, and in our opinion highly successful, attempt to reconcile psychoanalytic orientations and education, comparing these two disciplines on a level of mutual collaboration and cooperation – care and education, diagnosis and educational project, prevention (reparation) and educational care (caring for..) - rather than comparing it in a field of confrontation and division. Pfister established a new way of understanding education in relation to psychoanalysis, however underlining that only pedagogy has the task of indicating the purposes of the educational process. According to Pfister, with psychoanalytic pedagogy we become more prudent in our diagnoses and in the choice of pedagogic methods, we learn to individualise and we can recognise children's deeper needs. Indeed, Pfister stated the validity of psychoanalytic pedagogy as a “useful component within education as a whole”, which may help us to understand the multi-faceted framework of the child’s personality, make fewer mistakes, eliminate the clumsiest errors in educational action, read the child’s personality with greater sensitivity and interpretations, and respond to educational needs in a more appropriate and individualised manner. In fact, Pfister establishes some founding principles for psychoanalytic pedagogy, those of redemption – increasing the dimension of you can (and not merely you must) which means seeing the hope and faith in educational possibilities and the possibilities for change - and the bond which recalls the interest in the individuality, as the theory must be translated into the pedagogic field in order to gain precise knowledge of the individuality of each one. According to Pfister, there are two objectives of psychoanalytic pedagogy: one negative, that of freeing the soul from harmful fixed bonds and one positive (propositional), that of developing the autonomy of the personality.
With reference to this conceptual framework, we propose a reflection on the father figure dealing with the disability of a small child (0-6 years old), using the findings of a three-year research programme in the public services 0-6 of Bologna city, involving 86 fathers. The research aims is to analyse the fathers figure in the called “father evaporation” period (Recalcati, 2013). Traditionally, fathers of children with a disabilities have a long history of being perceived as an “invisible parent” (Ballard et alii., 1997), or even as the “peripheral parent” (Herbert, Carpenter, 1994). The outcome of a long history of lack of inclusion is that relatively is know about fathers’ experiences, needs, educational role and involvement in raising a child with disability (MacDonald, Hastings, 2010). In Italy, the educational role of fathers (with or without a disabled child) has shifted in tandem with social role of women (e.g. increased labour force participation of woman) and with the societal and cultural changes, starting from the middle of the 1900 century. A further societal shift, particularly relevant to fathers of children with disabilities, has been the deinstitutionalization of disabled children: the increasing number of children with disabilities living at home and attending the mainstreaming, has meant that fathers (as mothers as well) likely to be more directly involved (and more emotionally affected) in raising their child. Recent studies talking about a “new fathers” or a “maternal fathers” (Lamb, 2000; Argentieri, 1999; Pietropolli Charmet, 2000). What does it mean? What education role do fathers play in families life today? What dimension might affectively characterize fathers’ task with their disabled child? Which is the role of fathers in the process of inclusion?
This is an exploratory research project (qualitative methodologies). Its initial hypothesis focuses on the importance of ensuring educational actions – in regular contexts – to support fatherhood. Here we hypothesize that by working as early as possible with fathers we should be able to help them to relate to this new reality with less difficulty, fear and lack of understanding, with positive knock-on effort in the adult-child educational relationship. The research, carried out in Bologna city, including a preliminary phase, through the administration of a semi-structured questionnaire (86 people), followed by a second phase dedicated to studying the emerging results, through a semi-structured interviews to smaller group (30 people). With a descriptive and qualitative function, the phase of semi-structured interviews were administered and the data obtained was the analyzed and coded (text analyses). We aimed also to investigate, starting from the emerging results (I^ phase), the personal standpoints, experiences of disability, memories linked to the birth of a disabled child as well the educational difficulties and perceptions around the involvement in the practices of the services for the childhood. The semi-questionnaire was analyzed by “spss” program. The semi-questionnaire was organized into 4 sections: socio socio-demographic data; communication of diagnosis; educational tasks in the life of every day, the impact of disability on the individual (work, free time, expectations), couple and family life.
We propose a model of intervention for families with a disabled child, including fathers. The program is aligned with the services for the childhood aiming to facilitate access and retention of disabled children with their families into regular context. The model is designed to be implemented throughout the first months of life of a disabled child. The program is implemented from the point of the initial disclosure of the child’s diagnosis. First, it is designed to support – home care dimension - each parent as an individual, and as part of a couple of parent (as well as addressing the needs of the immediate family unity). Second, the intervention recognized and promote the importance of non family subsystem, such as the possibility of an early education and inclusion, starting from the nursery school. Workers of educational services have an important role to play in facilitating the inclusion of the family in the environment outside an home dimension. Third, in the model that we proposed, services 0-6 should organize workshop for conducting groups for fathers to provide information and educational and social support (e.g. fathers meet twice monthly for 2 hours). The meeting must include fathers with disabled or with nondisabled child - this is an essential point for an inclusive approach – and include activities in which fathers and children participate together. They should bring their child with them to each session organized – as possible – by male facilitators, for example, one a professional one and one a father. In order to promote this third step, it is important to encourage - through training - a culture on fathers figure and an inclusive approach in services for the childhood.
Argentieri, S. (1999). Il padre materno. Da san Giuseppe ai nuovi mammi. Roma: Meltemi. Ballard, K., Bray, A., Shelton, E.J., Clarkson, J. (1997). Children with disabilities and the education system. International Journal of disability, development and education, 44, 229-241. Caldin, R. (2015), Adolescents with disabilities at school. Processes of identity and the construction of life projects, Pedagogia Oggi, 2, 134 - 147 Herbert, E., Carpenter. B. (1994). Fathers – the secondary partners. Professional perceptions and father’s recollections. Children and Society, 8, 31-41 Lamb, M.E. (Ed.).(2010). The role of the father. In child development. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons. MacDonald, E., Hastings, R. (2010). Fathers with children with developmental disabilities (486-516). In M.E. Lamb (Ed.). The role of the father. In child development. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons. Pfister O. (1927). Pedagogia e Psicoanalisi. Naples: Giannini (Was bietet die Psychoanalyse dem Erzieher. Leipzig-Berlin: Klinkhardt, 1917). Pfister O. (1920). Zum Kampf um die Psychoanalyse. Internationaler Psychoanalytischer Verlag. Pfister O. (1913). Die psychoanalytische Methode. Eine erfahrungswissenschaftlich-systematische Darstellung. Leipzig-Berlin: Klinkhardt. Pietropolli Charmet, G. (2000). I nuovi adolescenti. Padri e madri di fronte a una sfida. Milano: Cortina. Recalcati, M. (2011). Cosa resta del padre? La paternità nell'epoca ipermoderna. Milano: Raffaello Cortina. West, S. (2000). Just a shadow? Birmingham: Handsel Trust.
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