04 SES 02 C, Parents’ Views II
Parallel Paper Session
Over the last decade, cochlear implant (CI) surgery in profoundly deaf children has become an increasingly routine provision in the Western part of the world (Archbold, Sach, O'Neill, Lutman, & Gregory, 2008; Spencer & Marschark, 2003). Most parents who choose CI for their child do this because their goal is for their child to be able to understand and develop spoken language, so that they can interact with hearing people (ASHA, 2003; Kluwin & Stewart, 2000). Meanwhile, CI is by no means an “easy” solution; it requires a long and demanding habilitation process (Spencer, 2002). Parents of implanted children typically meet several different institutions before and after cochlear implantation, which all represent alternate, distinct views on habilitation, residing in the medical, pedagogical, educational and psychological domains (see for example Strand, 2003). The Norwegian stately special educational resource system (Statped) has a mandate to support all children with special educational needs and their families in Norway. Statped provides extensive specialized support for families with implanted children. Apart from Statped there exists private support, only available for families living in local communities who are willing to pay for these services. Norwegian educational policies have emphasized inclusion as a core concept (Ministry of Education, 2006-2007) and furthermore families of children with disabilities are said to be offered coordinated and flexible services that are accommodated to their needs (Ministry of Education, 2002-2003). Parents’ rights to participate in influencing their child’s education are emphasized in legislation (Ministry of Education, 1998, 1996) which implies that ‘all this points towards a strong parental influence on services’ (Lundeby & Tøssebro, 2008:259). However, international disability research contains an extensive body of studies reporting disregard for parental views by professionals (Lundeby & Tøssebro, 2008).
The research project is a doctoral project and consists of a series of sub-projects which involve different kinds of data sampling in order to elucidate various aspects of participation and inclusion regarding cochlear implanted children and their families. The research question for this paper seeks to elucidate how parents experience having their needs met with regard to the educational support for their implanted child, both in relation to the home and at school.
This study is embedded in the sociocultural theoretical framework. Individuals are viewed as participants in social interaction and an important aspect is how people use the symbolic and material cultural tools that their culture enables them to use, and thus the focus is on interaction between individual and community (Rogoff, 2003; Säljö, 2001; Wertsch, 1998). People use narratives to remember, and to represent the past. As such, narratives can be seen as cultural tools (Wertsch, 1998). At the level of methodology, this perspective implies that analyzing the parents’ accounts as narratives, enables us to understand their stories in such a way as to see that the parents use narrative meta-structures as a frame for understanding while constructing their accounts. As such, how do the participants in this study assemble and sequence events and use language to communicate meaning? (see Kohler Riessman, 2008).
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