Families of children with disabilities

Authors: Joanne Banks , Selina McCoy , Dorothy Watson

Research Areas: Children and Young People | Education

In attempting to understand differences in social and academic outcomes of children and young people in school, research has focussed on the influence of parents' beliefs on their children's achievement, attitudes and academic performance. These studies often focus on the impact of low expectations for students from marginalised groups, ethnic minorities or disadvantaged backgrounds. There has been much less focus internationally on the aspirations parents have for children with disabilities or those identified with special educational needs (SEN). More notably, and partly reflecting the lack of appropriate data, there has been relatively little attention paid to the way in which parental evaluations of children's 'ability', particularly children with different types of disability, influence child development and longer-term outcomes. This new research project, commissioned by the National Disability Authority, will draw on data from the two waves of the Growing Up in Ireland (GUI) Child Cohort to explore parental aspirations, attitudes and behaviours for children with (different types of) disability relative to those without a disability. Using longitudinal data on 9- and 13- year old children we measure the extent to which social and academic outcomes over the period from 9 to 13 years of age are shaped by the assessments, aspirations, attitudes and behaviours of parents.

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