This study examined the adjustment problems of the physically handicapped children in integrated schools among students in selected secondary schools in Mainland Local Government Area of Lagos State. Related and relevant literature was reviewed under relevant sub-headings in the study. The descriptive research survey was applied in the assessment of respondents’ opinions with the use of the questionnaires and the sampling technique.

A total of one hundred and twenty (120) respondents were selected to represent the population of this study. The sample comprised (60 males and 60 females).

Four null hypotheses were formulated and tested in this study using the independent t-test statistical tool at 0.05 level of significance.

At the end of the exercise, the following findings were obtained thus:

1. There is a significant difference between the social interaction of physically challenged children and normal children in integrated schools.

2. That significant difference exists between the self-concept of handicapped children and the normal ones in integrated schools.

3. There is a significant difference in the academic performance of students who are handicapped and those who are not.

4. There is a significant difference between the vocational choice of the physically challenged children and that of the normal children in integrated schools.

CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION 1.1 Background to the Study

Education is a key to the development of an individual’s potential, nation’s prospects and the world as a whole. Education has become a fundamental tool for developing economics of the nations of the world. It is on this premise that the United Nations (UN) mandated that education should be part of the privileges and rights the citizenry or any member of the society should enjoy. The national policy on education of Nigeria also supports the view that all children and adults in the country should enjoy the basic education no matter their state or status.

The National Policy on Education, Section 3 stated five main national goals of Nigeria that were endorsed as necessary foundation for the development. The goals are

2. A free and democratic society.

3. A just and egalitarian society.

4. A united, strong and self-reliant nation.

5. A great and dynamic economy.

6. A land full of bright opportunities for all citizens.

Also in Section 4(c), the Nigeria philosophy of education states that every Nigerian child shall have a right to equal education opportunities, irrespective of any creed or unargued disabilities, each according to his or her ability (NPE, 2004).

To date, in an attempt to ensure an equal educational opportunities for all, there is still one un-served population that unlike some groups, is hard to identify, place and programme in public schools. They are the handicapped children. Handicapped children are referred to as special children or exceptional children and this points to the importance of the different kind of care they need (Oyebola, 1997). There has been a conscious move towards the integration of handicapped children into regular school programmes, not only in Nigeria but in most countries of the world. During the world congress of the council for exceptional children (CEC) held in Stilling, Scotland a lot of emphasis was placed on mainstreaming.

In the National Policy on Education (2004) it was stated that government had decided that integration is the most realistic form of special education for the handicapped since they are eventually expected to live in the society.

In the past, no one thought of giving the handicapped the attention they are receiving in recent times. This is evident in the celebration of the international day of the disabled persons on the 3rd of December every year by the United Nations Organization. The UNO tried to create more awareness about the disabled by declaring 1991 the international year of the disabled persons and the adoption of what it called the decade of disabled persons (1993 – 2002).

The attention being given to the handicapped is reflection of the attempt by every individual, federal, state government and even the international bodies to make life meaningful to everyone irrespective of his/her handicapping condition. In order to achieve this the United Nations in its world programme of action, recommends that children with special educational needs should be integrated as much as possible into ordinary schools.

Integration or mainstreaming or open education is therefore the process of educating all learners irrespective of their handicapping conditions along with their normal peers.

The handicapped children who from part of the country’s population needs to interact socially in all spheres of life as others do. The fact therefore remains that the handicapped cannot live wholly on their own without having to interact with their normal peers. This is why advocates of integration claim that integration is very necessary in acquainting the handicapped with their normal peers in terms of social interaction, personality development and positive self condept.

Integration of the handicapped and the normal children in regular schools does not necessarily guarantee positivism in terms of self concept and social interaction unless conscious efforts are made to enhance students interaction, the handicapped may be rejected by the normal students and teachers.

To survive and succeed in a typical classroom situation, pupil must have relatively good rapport with classmates and teachers. It has been adequately found by researchers Adeniyi (2000), Eweniyi and Adenuga (1999), Mba (1995) and Oladiti (1986), that a number of acceptable social behaviour correlate, highly with academic achievement. For example independence, attention, persistence on task, self concept, compliance with teacher’s request and ability to follow instruction are pre-requisite to school success. The fact that there is a difference in students, there is the possibility of problems for the handicapped in integrated schools.

It is against this background that this study seeks to discover their social adjustment problems in integrated schools and offer useful suggestions.

1.2 Statement of Problem

The handicapped are also referred to as the special and children who need special education. Special education does not mean segregation or separation. Integration should be encouraged but efforts should be made to meet their special needs.

These groups of children who are also addressed as less privileged ones are faced with problems of learning in schools due to physical structures, instructional materials and understanding by the teachers. Many researchers have worked on handicapped especially in areas of identification, placement, adjustment in society but very little research work has been on integration and problem of integration.

In Nigeria, myriad of people including parents, teachers and even the so called highly placed people believe that the handicapped interpersonal relationship with normal individual is tantamount to waste of time and energy because of their handicapping condition and difficult in academic achievement. Even the handicapped themselves feel reluctant to attend social functions in schools because they feel that normal children will discriminate against them. With this on their minds when they come to school, they try to live in isolation and at the end, they all lose what each group can offer to the other advancement. This study therefore attempt to analyse the adjustment problems of pupils with disability in Lagos State and offers necessary counselling.

1.3 Purpose of the Study

The study seeks to do the following:

i. To identify the social adjustment problems encountered by the handicapped in mainstreamed/integrated schools.

ii. To bring into focus the attitude of the normal students towards the handicapped in integrated schools.

iii. After identifying the problems encountered by these children through this investigation, the research work seeks to counsel the subject based on this problems and study if there will be any significant difference, suggest ways by which those concerned with the administration of the integrated schools could influence the normal peers in developing positive attitudes towards the handicapped.

iv. To bring into focus the need by the government to embark on public enlightenment programmes to educate the populace on the need to accept the handicapped as worthy members of the schools and the larger society in which they find themselves.

1.4 Research Questions

i. Is there any significant difference between the social interaction level of the physically handicapped children and normal children in integrated schools?

ii. Is there any significant difference between self concept of the physically handicapped children and that of the normal school children?

iii. Is there any significant difference between the academic performance of handicapped children and the normal children in integrated schools?

iv. Is there any significant difference in vocational choice between the physically handicapped and the normal children?

1.5 Research Hypotheses

i. There is no significant difference between the social interaction level of the physically handicapped children and normal children in integrated schools.

ii. There is no significant difference between self concept of the physically handicapped children and normal school children.

iii. There is no significant difference between the academic performance of handicapped children and the normal children in integrated schools.

iv. There is no significant difference in vocational choice between the physically handicapped and the normal children.

1.6 Significance of the Study

The study will enlighten teachers both general and specialists, parents of both groups, the children themselves and the general public on the need to solve the problem of social interaction among the handicapped and the normal children so as to give both groups a sense of togetherness. It will suggest ways of educating the handicapped through active social interaction.

Education cannot be meaningful until all children, their handicapped condition not withstanding co-operate and do things together and actively interact socially.

To be socially matured, the handicapped would require a pre-requisite body of information about social customs and habits.

It is the aim of the study to identify and highlight the psychological problems faced by the handicapped by investigating into their social interaction and adjustment, personality development, academic performance and vocational opportunities. This is to make not only educational but also the general public aware of the adjustment problems encountered by this category of children in their midst, Biller (1978) states that:

“The extent to which the child with handicapping condition becomes a successful participating member of the real world is in direct proportion to the degree to which he is accepted by his family, his school, his community so that he is capable of accepting himself as a worthy person”.

The study will assist in remediating the psychological doubt and social problems by warding off the child’s mistrust, shame, doubt, guilt, inferiority, Identity, confusion, isolation, stagnation and despair.

The study will identify and highlight the adjustment problems of the physically handicapped learners and get them integrated into normal society to be able to interact with the normal children, encourage their developing attitude towards their social behaviour, personality and achievement.

1.7 Delimitation/Scope of the Study

The handicapped refers to the problems and difficulties a person encounter because a physical disability or behavioural characteristics marks him or her as different from other individuals. Therefore, handicapped is an umbrella word that encompasses the physically handicapped, the visually impaired (blind), the learning impaired (deaf) the learning disabled/slow learners, the mentally retarded, behaviour disorder/emotionally disturbed and the exceptional children (gifted and talented).

Since the handicapped is a broad word including the above mentioned persons, the researcher was not be able to cover all the area mentioned above, putting into consideration the time at the disposal of the researcher to accomplish the research work.

For the purpose of this study, the research was restricted to the physically handicapped only.

The aspect of the adjustment problems covered:

i. Social interaction

ii. Self concept

iii. Academic performance

iv. Vocational opportunity

1.8 Definition of Terms

i. Integration: Is the process of educating all students irrespective of their handicapping condition along with their no handicapped peers. In this study, integration means mixing normal and handicap pupils in the same school.

ii. Adjustment: Denga (1986) Harmony congruence or a goodness of fit between an individual and standards against which an individual is adjusted. Adjustment in this study refers to the ability of an handicap to cope with any situation.

iii. Adjustment Disorder: A mental disorder that occurs as a maladaptive reaction to an episode of psychological, social or physical stress. In this study, adjustment disorder means inability of an individual to cope with psychological reactions and/or social physical stress in an environment.

iv. Handicap: The problems and difficulties a person encounters because of physical disability or behavioural characteristic makes him or her different from others.

v. Disability: Is a physical problem that limits a person ability to perform certain tasks that most other people can perform.

vi. Hearing impairment: Are those in whom the sense of hearing is non functional for the ordinary purpose of life.

vii. Visually impaired (Blind): Are those who cannot read and write print after all optical corrective measures have been taken.

viii. The learning disabled: Is one who exhibits one or more deficits in the essential learning process of perception, conceptualization, language memory, attention and impulse control (Crownin, 1978).

ix. Personality: Is the total aggregate of configuration of an individual’s unique characteristics and modes or behaviour which include his internal mediating state. In this study, personality means total pattern of an individual ways of life.

x. Special Education: The education of children and adults who have learning difficulties because of different sort of handicaps.

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