Parental involvement in recreational activities of children with intellectual disabilities: A case study of the Thabo Vuyo school for learners with special educational needs (LSEN)

  • J Surujlal
  • M Dhurup
Keywords: Youth, parental involvement, participation, expectations, support.


An important group of people within a society are those with disabilities. This group includes people with physical disabilities, intellectual disabilities, visual impairment, auditory impairment and a combination of any of the aforementioned disabilities. The focus of this study is on children with special educational needs; that is, those who are intellectually disabled and experience learning difficulties. Recreational activities are the ideal vehicles to foster improved relationships with peers with intellectual disabilities, as well as those without intellectual disabilities. The purpose of this study was to assess the role of parents in the recreational activities of their children and the extent to which parents of intellectually disabled children are involved in the recreational activities of their children. An extensive literature review on children with intellectual difficulties was conducted. In addition, the study adopted a qualitative approach
to access data from both staff of the Thabo Vuyo School and parents of children with intellectual difficulties with regard to the involvement of parents in the recreation activities of children at the school. Two focus group discussions, each lasting between 45 and 60 minutes, were conducted separately with educators and parents. Each group consisted of seven participants. The scope of the focus group discussions was to elicit responses from both groups regarding their perceptions of parental involvement in the recreation activities of learners at that school. The data were analysed using the immersion and crystallisation technique, which involved organising the data, examining the text thoroughly and then crystallising the most important aspects. Recurring aspects of ways in which parents were involved in the recreational activities of their children
were grouped into themes that helped to describe the practice. The validity of the identified themes was tested by two experienced researchers. Consensus regarding the identified themes was reached. The following themes emerged from the focus group discussions, namely
incentives, challenges and benefits. It was found that despite the many incentives and opportunities to get involved, many parents did not take advantage of those opportunities which provide the platform to create a symbiotic relationship between educators and parents. It is
imperative that educators at the school create opportunities for them and parents to consult regularly in order to develop innovative ideas to improve the quality of the lives of the children through the medium of recreation. It was recommended that parents be involved with educators and children in all aspects of recreation activities – from the planning to the implementation.

Journal Identifiers

print ISSN: 2411-6939