While researchers consider poverty to be a primary reason for isolation, all individuals who are unable to participate socially or integrate themselves into the social realm, or without the necessary tools of power could be at a risk for isolation (Hayes, Gray& Edwards, 2008).
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Members of some community could face isolation as a result of living in remote neighborhoods which enjoy fewer benefits as compared to those with sufficient resources for education and employment (Hayes et al., 2008). Vinson (2007) explicates that community members belonging to low income groups and living in localities with limited resources such as education, health and labor are at a higher risk for isolation.
Novello et al. (2011) note the impact of families and couples living with a partner suffering from a mental health problems or distress. Hayes (2007) found that low levels of parental education, family problems, child abuse in families, failure of children in schools are important aspects which lead to social isolation in children.
In his report, Vinson (2007) proposes government sponsored community projects and intervention plans to reduce social exclusion. He recommends implementation of these projects over longer periods of time rather than short doses.
He asserts that there should be a greater focus on education, better job opportunities, job placements, enhanced resources for health and treatment, development and training of parenting skills and the development of local leadership.
Social capital has been defined as the availability of networks and access to social connectedness within a community (Stone, 2001). Since my community has a good transportation system, communication system including telephone exchanges, mobile phone companies, schools, churches, recreational activity centers such as sports clubs, Disney parks etc., I would rate it high on the social capital scale.
The Internet provides new opportunities for social connection for people who are isolated. Access to the internet has been identified as an important economic barrier to social inclusion (Vinson, 2007). Childhood services could serve as informational centers and communication networking centers for parents (Grace & Bowes, 2010).
Staff members of these centers could work towards the facilitation of communication between parents of children with special needs and professional child experts (Grace & Bowes, 2010). Staff members of child service teams could provide parents with knowledge and information for enhanced interaction and communication with children (Grace & Bowes, 2010).
Grace, R. & Bowes, J. (2010). Barriers to Participation: The Experience of Disadvantaged Young Children, their Families, and Professionals in Engaging with Early Childhood Services. Web.
Hayes, A., Gray, M., & Edwards, B. (2008). Social inclusion: Origins, concepts and key themes. Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia.
Novello, D. J., Stain, H. J., Lyle, D. & Kelly, B. J. (2011). Psychological distress of rural parents: Family influence and the role of isolation. Journal of Rural Health, 19 (1), 27-31.
Stone, W. (2001). Measuring social capital: Towards a theoretically informed measurement framework for researching social capital in family and community life (Research Paper No. 24). In Hayes, A., Gray, M., & Edwards, B. (2008). Social inclusion: Origins, concepts and key themes. Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia.
Vinson, T. (2007). Dropping Off the Edge: The Distribution of Disadvantage in Australia. Canberra: Catholic Social Services Australia.
We are indeed fortunate to be living in a good community setting which facilitates social inclusion. Since we rank high on the social capital scale, we have better opportunities to interact, socialize and gain education. All of these factors increase the potential for better jobs, social networking and an overall better life.
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Since an advantageous neighborhood has been noted as an important factor in social capital (Vinson, 2007), we should focus on strategies which will help us improve neighborhoods of the less fortunate children. Childhood services could indeed play an important part in making neighborhoods more advantageous (Grace & Bowes, 2010).
The staff of these childhood services should be appropriately trained for educating parents about ways to communicate with children. Additionally, childhood services should serve as platforms for social interaction between parents, thereby reducing levels of social isolation between families. By holding meetings and events which involve parents and children, childhood services could achieve the goal of social inclusion.
In absolutely remote areas where parents and families have less access to transport and means of communication, childhood service centers could set up internet hubs to encourage social networking. Networking and communication will surely be easier with access to the internet.
However, parents should be educated about the importance of extra curricular activities for children in aiding their overall growth and development.
Since lack of community activities and hobbies have been noted as an important measure of social exclusion (Hayes, Gray & Edwards, 2008), child services should take the responsibility of setting up events and programs which promote and encourage children and parents to participate in social activities.