Bibliotheraphy for the hearing impaired in Kenya: a survey
Namu, Gertrude Muthoni
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By way of definition, bibliotherapy is the relief of suffering through psychological processes and acquisition of other remedial skills induced by reading and use of relevant information. This study was designed to investigate whether any Bibliotherapy is practiced in Kenyan schools for the hearing impaired and among the hearing impaired in general. It also sought to establish the information needs of the students and teachers in these schools as well as the rehabilitation officers dealing with the hearing impaired. The study covered four schools: Machakos School for the Deaf, Kaaga School for the Deaf, Kambui school for the hearing impaired and the Karen Vocational Training institute for the deaf. It also covered 2 assessment centres; one in Machakos and one in Meru (Kaaga) as well as officers in the Rehabilitation Department in the Ministry of Culture and Social Services. The review of the related literature indicated that bibliotherapy is practiced although this is done unconsciously. It also revealed that there is neither a conscious effort nor a definite policy to this effect. Three questionnaires were distributed to a total of 124 respondents. There was one questionnaire for students in schools for the deaf, one for teachers in schools for the deaf and one for rehabilitation officers. Findings showed that there was no reading material for the students besides what was necessary for the school curriculum. It also revealed that bibliotherapy can be practiced since the teachers and rehabilitation officers indicated a willingness to do so and an appreciation of bibliotherapy as a method of rehabilitation. Inadequate training for the teachers and rehabilitation officers and lack of reading materials was found to be the major problem. The study recommended among other things, the introduction of bibliotherapy in all schools for the hearing and impaired and the formation of a national association or panel for those practicing bibliotherapy.