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Perspectives of Parents of Children with Special Educational Needs: Self-Efficacy and School Supports During COVID-19

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Exceptionality Education International





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The role of parents in supporting at-home learning increased dramatically in the spring of 2020. Schools in most Canadian provinces closed physically due to COVID-19, and remote-learning options were quickly developed to ensure continued education for students. Many students with special educational needs, who typically benefit from a range of supports from school, became reliant on parents to provide means of access to and participation in remote learning. Using an online survey, we explored the perceptions of 263 Canadian parents of children with special education needs with regard to their self‑efficacy and supports from schools. We conducted multiple linear regression analyses for each of three dependent variables (academic supports, parent self‑efficacy, and social-emotional supports); independent variables included student grade level, education placement, and total school-provided supports prior to the pandemic. Findings indicated that most parents engaged in remote learning and lacked confidence in their ability to support the learning of their child. Parent self-efficacy was related to social-emotional supports from schools and not to academic supports. Parents of children in elementary grades, and of those who had received more supports from school prior to COVID‑19, reported feeling better supported in social-emotional areas by the school. Schools should explore ways of building strong collaborative relationships between educators and parents, as well as continuing to find ways of supporting families and students in both in- and out-of-school places. The pandemic, and school-building closures, have reminded us how partnerships between parents and schools are crucial for the well-being of all involved.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

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