The everyday lives of physically disabled young people in Oman: barriers to social inclusion.
This thesis investigates factors that might lead to the limited inclusion of disabled young people in Omani society. The key assumption which underlies this study is that there is a need to ensure the full citizenship of these young people. Realising the concept of citizenship requires practical steps from society to ensure equality of opportunity. Moreover, it proposes the need to move the perception of disability and the suggested solutions away from the traditional individualistic approaches towards those founded in a social model. The proposed change is closely related to a shift in disability research paradigms and methods; in other words, a move from quantifying the numbers of impaired people to qualitative research which seeks to comprehend the perceptions and experiences of disabled young people and their families. Semi-structured individual interviews were carried out with 26 physically disabled young people. These explored their everyday lives in their families. their experiences in the wider community, the quality of services they are provided with, their relationships with the public and professionals, and their own views of themselves. Four focus groups, composed of eight to twelve mothers in each, were purposefully selected from four administrative regions In Oman. These groups explored the mothers' perceptions of their disabled children's daily lives and the barriers to their inclusion. Twelve professionals working in health, social services and education were interviewed to gain their views. The disabled young people experienced considerable difficulties in their daily lives. A key finding was that the disabled young people attributed their disabilities to factors related to society rather than to their impairments. They were deeply concerned about the inaccessibility of physical and social environments that restricted their opportunities for education and relationships outside their families.