Influence of Guidance and Counseling on Social Skills of Students with Learning Disabilities in International Secondary Schools, Nairobi City County, Kenya.
Kinyua, Miriam G.
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This research study sought to assess the influence of school guidance and counseling services on the development of social skills of learners with learning disabilities in international secondary schools in Nairobi City County, Kenya. The specific objectives of the study were; to establish the types of Guidance and counseling services being offered to learners with learning disabilities, to examine the influence of professional training of school counselors on guidance and counseling services for learners with learning disabilities, and to explore the influence of guidance and counseling services in the development of personal-social skills of learners with learning disabilities. Five international secondary schools with programs for learners with learning disabilities were the target population. These schools were randomly selected. The study population comprised fifty students with learning disabilities, ten guidance and counseling teachers, ten special needs education teachers and ten school head teachers/key stage coordinators from the selected schools. The sample size for the study included five school head teachers or key stage coordinators, five school guidance and counseling teachers or school counselors, five special needs education teachers and twenty-five students with learning disabilities. Purposive sampling was used to select the key stage coordinators, special needs education teachers and school guidance/counseling teachers who participated in the study. The researcher used simple random sampling technique to sample the students with learning disabilities. Four key stage coordinators, five counseling teachers, five special needs education teachers and twenty-two students participated in the study, making an average response rate of 90.0 %. Data was gathered using questionnaires and interview guides. Pilot study was carried out at St. Austin’s Academy as it is an international school within Nairobi County. The research instruments were piloted for their validity and reliability. A reliability coefficient of 0.8 was realized which was sufficient enough for the research instrument to be used to collect data. Data collected was categorized, coded and subjected to statistical package of social sciences for analysis version 16.2. Data was analyzed both qualitative and quantitative techniques. The quantitative techniques involved using frequencies and percentages. After the analysis, it was presented using tables. The researcher then arranged qualitative data responses thematically according to the research questions and objectives for analysis. The study found out that school guidance and counseling play a great role in the development of personal social skills for students with learning disabilities. Based on the findings of the present study, it can also be concluded that school counselors’ training in school guidance and counseling, training in special needs education, experience in teaching children with disabilities and exposition to continuous staff development positively impacts on guidance and counseling services provisions for children with disabilities. The study recommends that Guidance and counseling for students with disabilities should be provided by trained counselors in the area of special needs and disabilities.