Claimed Causal Factors And The Associated Societal Attitude Towards Mental Retardation01 0'

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Addis Ababa Universty


This study exao1ines sOlne clain1.ed causal faetol"s of m ental retardation , the associated societal attitude tOW31'ds m e ntal I'etardation, and its impact on the support sys terns for persons with tTlenta i retardation in th e City Administt'ation of Addis Ababa. The study includes both quantitative and qualitative reseal'eh d es ign s. A SelfReport Questionnaire was prepared and administered fOl' 142 participants in the three s h'ata (50 parents, 42 special needs teachers , and 50 ,'egu!ar e l e mentary school teachers) for th e quantitative int erpr e tation of the data . The data was analyzed th ,'ough the application of both descriptive ( percentage, mean, and standard deviation) and inferential CANOVA, Chi-square (xZ), Standar di zed Residuals (R) and C,'amer's Phi (0)) s tati s tics, The specific obj ective of the qualitative study was to understand the qual ity, quantity. current situation, and future pros pects of the support' systems for pel'son s with mental retardation, It \vas a lso helpful to unders tand some c laimed causal factors and s uppl e ments other findings , Thus, in the qualitative m e thod , indi v idual inte,'view was conducted \vith 22 participants (7 leaders of special needs unit, 1 leader of ENA/ MRCY, 5 school directors, 6 special needs teachers. and 3 government officials) whil e only e ight (4 special needs teacher s, and 4 parents) participants were included in th e focu s group discussions, A ll the support providing organizations, schools , centers, and units were also visited by the researcher, The main points gathered through thi s method wer'e explained and discussed briefly. The researcher found that 80 percent of the total participants were socially interactive (65 percent hi g h ly and 15 percent occasionally socially interactive), while the ,'est 20 percent of them wcr-e non-socially interactive individua ls with pers ons with mental retardation_ Of a ll the participants all special needs teachel's, 90 percent of parents, and 54 pel'cent of regular school teachers have social interaction with these people. More interesting was that significant differences were observed both in the type and frequency of social interaction among the total participants based on their relationship (parent, s pecial needs teachers, and regular school teache r) and religious affil iation, The causal factors for mental retardation found to be unknown for most parents of children with mental I-etardatioll. Based on the ranking of all the three groups of participants th e organic/physi o logical related causes, accident, and cultural-familial factors "vere chosen in that respective o rder. The causal factors related to God, s uperna l untl beliefs and evi l spirits got the l a s t pt'jot-ity by e :'l. c h of the th" ee groups and their curnul a tive participation. A ll the threc groups of participants have shown positive general attitude toward s mental retardation and p ersons with mental retardation, There were no significant g roup d ifferences on the gen e ral and the four specific dimens ion s of attitude base d on theil' ty pe of "elationship and types and levels of social interaction, A lthough they have shown good acceptance of the ri g hts of these community and understands b e ttel' the mediation of mental r e tardation, they have shown general negative belief and social rejection . The effects of all the four biog raphic and socioeconomic variables (sex, age, I'elig ion, and educational level) both on the general and specific dim.en s ion s of th e parti c ipants ' attitude were insi g nificant, The current situation of the s upport systems for children with mental retardation found to be less organized, poor, and l imite d. The rate of school attendance, catchments, and Inaintenall.ce on the student population 'was very low, Hig h er rat e of absence, repetition and dropouts "ve re recorded in the different special needs units . Lack of appropriate school facilities and Inatel'iais, trained human power, budget, awa,'eness and orientation were also the major setbacks on the developmen ts of th e support systen1s. Mo"c worst was that the limited and unevenly distributed support systems increases the burde ns of fami ly melubers of children with m en tal retardation and facilitate the absence, repetition and dropout rates among these population. Thus, social integ ration was the priol' recomme ndation. It should b e practiced through a\vareness and advocacy progran1 s through Ine dia. Opening of small centers In every s m a l l city administration stratum (kebel e , for exan1ple) s hould be implernented. This will lead to the en v i s ion e d social integ ration , eventually of inclusion ,



Special Needs Education