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Parents’ Perspectives on Wellbeing among Children with Disabilities in Trinidad: Using Sen’s Capability Approach and Mixed Methods


This paper examines parents’ perspectives on wellbeing among children with disabilities in Trinidad using mixed methods and Sen’s capability approach. In an exploratory phase a list of functionings is identified from interviews with parents and advocates of these children. In the second phase the qualitative information is used to develop a questionnaire which is administered among parents of children with disabilities in the final phase. The questionnaire contains both closed and open-ended questions which respectively measures wellbeing among children with disabilities and collects information on hindering factors. Twenty-nine functionings of importance were identified and parents’ responses in the final phase indicate deprivations in all functionings including those related to basic needs. Targeted responses to girls with disabilities and children with multiple disabilities are required as greater deprivation was revealed among them. Results also indicated the absence of various societal structures which hindered the achievement of fundamental rights and freedoms and overall wellbeing among children with disabilities. Moreover, the integrated findings suggest the need for public systems regarding therapy, supportive devices, disability-related health-care services, and transportation, as well as improvement to the education system, specifically the provision of accommodations within the regular schools necessary for the inclusion of children with disabilities.

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Fig. 1

Data Availability

The data is not deposited in any repository because of confidentiality reasons.


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    Here, disability is seen as a consequence of the limited societal structures, which in turn affects participation on an equal opportunity basis by persons with impairments (Leonard Cheshire Disability 2006).

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    Trinidad and Tobago is a twin-island Republic in the Caribbean. For this study, a child is defined as a person under the age of 18 years (United Nations 1990).

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    See for example, Benson (2010), Raina et al. (2005), Olsson and Hwang (2001), and Woolfson (2010).

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    Notably if functionings related to school books and acceptance by teachers were calculated based on the entire sample since all children should be enrolled in school then these functionings were moderate deprivations.

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The fieldwork for this research was partially funded by The School for Graduate Studies and Research at The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago. Grant Number: CRP.5.APR17.62 – Fieldwork/Data Collection: Area of Research: “Disability and Poverty in Trinidad”.

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Correspondence to Bephyer Parey.

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Ethical approval for the research was granted by the Campus Ethics Committee of the University of West Indies. Ethical Approval Number: CEC 209/05/17-Disability and poverty in Trinidad.

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Parey, B. Parents’ Perspectives on Wellbeing among Children with Disabilities in Trinidad: Using Sen’s Capability Approach and Mixed Methods. Child Ind Res 14, 1635–1651 (2021).

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  • Children with disabilities
  • Wellbeing
  • Sen’s capability approach
  • Mixed methods
  • Trinidad