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Parenting Children With Disabilities: Dilemma On Right To Education Versus Best Interest Of A Child, Kenya

Ciriaka Gitonga (PhD) Educational Psychologist, University of Embu, Kenya


Kenya has made great strides in implementing various legislations and policy frameworks for the attainment of the rights of children with disabilities. However, parenting a child with a disability remains daunting to many families. Parents, the primary duty bearers have the sole duty of ensuring holistic development of their children. They find themselves making decisions on behalf of their children from time to time. The legal frameworks require that those making decisions on behalf of children do so in the best interest of the child, yet the needs of a child with a disability are far more than those of a child without a disability. Parents have to maintain a balance between the educational needs of the child with a disability versus for other child/ren. It is here that the dilemma emerges, the right to education versus an inclusive education provision, since most schools are ill-prepared for children with disabilities. This paper examined the dilemma parents experience as they seek inclusive education provisions. A descriptive survey was used to examine the gaps existing within the various legal frameworks and parent’s awareness of the rights to education of children with disabilities. The results reveal that the rights of the children with disabilities in Kenya are aligned to the UN Convention on the Rights of Children; the parents of children with disabilities are least informed on the rights of their children to quality education, but most importantly, are unaware of the existence of key legal frameworks. As a result, parents experience varying degrees of the dilemma when seeking inclusive education. The paper recommends an extensive study on parents’ awareness of the rights of children with disabilities as duty bearers.

Key Words: Children with disabilities; legal frameworks, parents, rights to education


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