BACKGROUND : Parenting children with learning disabilities requires a high level of knowledge
and access to resources, information and services. In developing countries, however, these
resources and services are not always available. Parents in Namibia, a developing country,
therefore face challenges addressing children’s learning and other developmental disabilities,
including challenges related to preventative and supportive interventions.
OBJECTIVE : This research focuses on challenges faced by parents as they parent children with
learning disabilities in Opuwo, Namibia.
METHOD : In-depth interviews were conducted with eight parents regarding the challenges they
face in parenting their children with learning disabilities. Thematic analysis enabled the
researchers to identify, analyse and report on themes that emerged from the qualitative
RESULTS : Analysis of the interviews indicated that some participants had only a vague
understanding of learning disabilities, as they did not have access to essential knowledge
about this phenomenon. They also lacked an awareness of the availability of programmes,
services and policies meant to benefit their children with learning disabilities. Participants
voiced that they, their children with learning disabilities and community members have
stereotypes and prejudices regarding learning disabilities. In this study, most of the children
with learning disabilities were raised by single, unemployed parents who seemed to have
access to less support from external sources than married couples parenting children with
learning disabilities. These single parents are usually not married and because of lack of
financial support from the other parent, the majority of them indicated that they struggle to
meet the financial and material needs of their children.
CONCLUSION : The researchers concluded that the participants in this study experience a range of challenges in parenting their children with learning disabilities. The main challenges
emanate from financial instability, as well as lack of knowledge regarding services and
programmes for children with learning disabilities. This lack of knowledge on the part of
participants could indicate poor policy education by policy implementers at grass-roots level.