FACTORS INFLUENCING ACQUISITION OF READING SKILLS AMONG LEARNERS WITH DISABILITIES IN PUBLIC PRIMARY SCHOOLS IN KILIFI COUNTY
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This study was an attempt to investigate factors influencing the acquisition of reading skills among
learners with disabilities in Kilifi County of Coast Province. It concerned all learners but focused
on those who have been traditionally excluded from educational opportunities. It was concerned
with all learners with problems in reading comprehension, writing and mathematical computation.
Most of the parents with these children with learning disabilities are not aware that these children
learn together with the normal children and most of them leave their children to stay at home. The
study’s objectives sought to find out how resource availability, government policy, socio-cultural
factors and teachers’ skills and attitude influence the acquisition of reading skills among learners
with disabilities in Kilifi County. The study reviewed different literature related to the area of
study. The literature reviewed was on acquisition of reading skills among learners with disabilities.
The sample population comprised 10 schools, with their Head teachers, 34 teachers and 24 parents
of children with learning disabilities bringing the number of respondents to 68. The study employed
stratified random sampling with the use of lottery method. The questionnaires were developed to
guide the data collection with presentation and analysis. The research techniques used were
questionnaires, interview and reviewing of the related literature. The researcher visited schools and
administered interviews to head teachers. The responses were analysed and summarized to guide
the study. The findings from the study indicated that various factors hinder the acquisition of
reading skills among learners with disabilities. The findings showed that most public primary
schools lack resources to cater for learners with difficulties in acquisition of reading skills. There is
no clear government policy on acquisition of reading skills and the curriculum is too rigid for
learners with difficulties in acquisition of reading skills. Most teachers have negative attitude
towards learners with difficulties in acquisition of reading skills as they see it as a bother and these
learners do lower the mean score. Most of the head teachers are not trained in special needs
education thus making it difficult to instill the support of these learners with the problem of
acquisition of reading skills in their schools. For this to be successful, the government has to come
up with a clear policy that will give the framework to support these learners. Parents need to be
sensitized on the importance of integrating these learners in regular schools. All teachers training
colleges should incorporate special education in their syllabus. The research can be carried out in
other counties of the republic of Kenya in order to make integration of the disabled learners with
problems in acquisition of reading difficulties a reality.