8th INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS ON CURRICULUM AND INSTRUCTION CURRICULUM STUDIES IN LIFE LONG LEARNING, Burdur, Turkey, 25 March - 27 June 2021, vol.1, pp.209-210
The term learning disability was first introduced in 1962 by Samuel Kirk (MEB, 2014). A person with a learning disability, despite the necessary interventions, for at least six months; exhibit behaviors such as reading incorrectly or slowly, difficulty in reading comprehension, writing difficulty, difficulty in learning, using, and calculating numbers, and difficulty in mathematical reasoning (APA, 2013). Learning disabilities in an individual can occur in learning language skills or in learning mathematics, as well as in both areas. Studies show that learning disability mostly occurs in learning to read and write (Ergül, 2012; MEB, 2014). The literacy directly affects the success in many courses, it especially impacts the Turkish course (Erginer, 1996). Studies show that children with learning disabilities can learn to read and write when necessary support and assistance is provided (Akyol v& Yıldız, 2010; Duran & Sezgin, 2012). According to Özyürek (2009), in the literacy education process of children with specific learning disabilities; making adaptations in teaching methods and materials, providing students with successful daily live experiences, cooperating with family, school management, and other teachers in the preparation and implementation of individualized education programs, ensuring the participation of the family in education, and employing supportive education services contribute to student learning. Similarly, Uçgun (2003), in his study examining specific learning disabilities in terms of teaching Turkish, states that the role of family and teacher is very important in eliminating learning difficulties and that students with learning disabilities should receive appropriate therapies. Literature review reveals that studies on parental participation in literacy education are generally limited to healthy children, and there are not enough studies on this subject regarding students with special needs (Gül, 2007). However, individuals with special needs are generally one of the groups that need family participation the most. Başal and Batu (2002) in their studies with private school teachers teaching elementary grades; they stated that families of children with special needs should be included in students’ literacy learning process and families should receive education because they have insufficient knowledge on this subject. Families should be encouraged to participate in children’s literacy education. The purpose of this research is examining parental participation in the literacy learning process of students with specific learning disabilities, based on the views of parents and teachers.
This study is designed as a phenomenological research. Interviews were used to collect data. While determining the participants of the study, criterion sampling method, one of the purposeful sampling methods, was used. The participants of this study are four parents with children diagnosed with specific learning disabilities and their children’s teachers. Participants volunteered to participate in the study. In the research, semi-structured interview forms were developed by the researchers as data collection tools to make interviews with parents and teachers. Parents interview form consists of nine items and probe questions; teacher interview form consists of five items and probe questions. The research was carried out in a private education institution operating in Sivas Province Central District for 11 years. The meeting date and time for the interview with the parents and teachers to be interviewed was scheduled in advance, and the researcher and each participant were found to be one-to-one during the interviews. The interviews were recorded with a voice recorder and the interviews took about 30 minutes. The data were analyzed with the MAXQDA 18 program using the descriptive qualitative analysis technique.
Parents stated that their children with specific learning disabilities experience negative experiences when studying due to the difficulties and unwillingness of the child in learning academic skills during the literacy education process. Teachers stated that they could not get the support they expected from the families due to the insufficient teacher-parent communication and cooperation, and due to the families’ inadequate and incorrect information in the literacy education process of the child. In addition, teachers stated that they need to cooperate with families and to have their children do homework and practice their studies at home. Parents stated that to participate in the education of their children, they need to have the knowledge and skills about specific learning disabilities, and about the sound-based sentence teaching method and about the principles of instruction. All the teachers emphasized the need for family participation in the literacy education process and for families to receive education on this issue; however, they stated that they had not given such education to the parents before. Parents stated that they felt inadequate to cope with the difficulties encountered in the education of their child with specific learning disabilities.
Keywords: Specific learning disability, reading and writing education, parental participation in education.