Sanctuaries, "Special Needs," and Service: Faith Community Leader Perceptions on Including Children with Disabilities
1 online resource (117 pages) : PDF
University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Religion plays an important role in providing support, purpose, and positive emotional health in the life of a family with a child with a disability. Yet studies on parent and child perceptions indicate that many families struggle to feel accepted and supported by faith communities. Faith communities are defined as a group of people who share a particular set of religious beliefs and rituals and are often principally led by a member of the clergy, who is ordained or licensed by a religious denomination or association. Religion and the communities that teach and espouse such values have a proclivity to influence the greater community, which necessitates that even unaffiliated community members should take interest in what occurs inside. This study investigates the experience, knowledge, and attitudes of faith community leaders on including children with disabilities and their families in faith communities. Participants include clergy and non-ordained laity who serve in a leadership capacity in churches, synagogues, and mosques. The study utilized a mixed-methods approach to include quantitative data through an online survey and qualitative data through semi-structured focus groups. The Faith Community Leader Inclusion Perceptions survey was administered to assess leader perceptions. Three hundred six participants completed the anonymous survey and four focus groups with a total of 13 participants were conducted. Demographic data were analyzed to determine relationships between demographic variables and survey responses. Thematic analysis was conducted on transcribed data from the qualitative focus groups designed to make meaning of participant responses. Observations of trends found in these responses were explored. Data from both measures were corroborated to explore relationships between both data sets and the relationship to the body of literature.
CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIESCLERGYFAITH COMMUNITIESINCLUSIVE EDUCATIONRELIGIONSPECIAL EDUCATION
Child & Family Studies
Smith, JaneDianeCollins, Belva
Thesis (M.Ed.)--University of North Carolina at Charlotte, 2018.
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