Roles of parents in inclusion of their children with sen in a mainstream school

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (M. Ed.)


Institute for Educational Development, Karachi


The study exploring the role of parents of children with Special Education Needs (SEN) in Inclusive Education was carried out in a private mainstream school in Karachi, Pakistan, which includes children with SEN. This study was carried out through a qualitative research paradigm, by using semi-structured interviews and document analysis. The primary participants of the study were four parents of children with SEN studying in a mainstream school. The two class teachers and the principal of the school were also the research participants. The findings of the study suggest that most parents of SEN children play different roles at different times, such as the role of a teacher, an advocate, a researcher and a monitor, in order to ensure full participation of their children with SEN in mainstream schools. However, their respective role is determined by their level of education, their socio-economic background, family's support, cultural practices, and most importantly, their own attitude and awareness about the importance of mainstream schooling of their children with SEN. The study also shows that in a Pakistani society, mothers and fathers of children with SEN play specific roles, which is mostly influenced by our cultural practices and perceptions. Fathers are the primary bread winners of the family and bear the responsibility of earning for the family. They have less interaction with their children and are not even expected to share the nurturing responsibilities with the mothers in the day-to-day activities of children with SEN. Therefore, in most cases, the mothers play a dominant role. They mostly stay at home and consequently take the responsibilities of all their children. However, the decision of sending their children to a mainstream school is taken mainly by fathers, with little consultation from the mother's side. This study also shows that there are some facilitating factors supporting the parental decision of including their children in mainstream schools; for example, family support, and their socio-economic background, their participation in trainings and workshops held by psychologists and therapists, and also the special educators in the school, all these help the parents in understanding the problems of their children with SEN. However, parents also face many challenges which hinder their role in inclusion of their children with SEN in mainstream schools; for example, their socio economic background, recognition of the rights of their children with SEN as well as cultural barriers, such as attitudes of people influenced by their beliefs about disabilities in children and their abilities and parents' subsequent struggle for social acceptance of their children with SEN.

This document is available in the relevant AKU library