Journal article Open Access

Family Functioning and Disability: A Study on mothers of Mentally Disabled Children

Vijayasamundeeswari Palani, Venkataraman P, Anita David, O S Ravindran

Aim: The present study aims to explore the perception that mothers of mentally disabled children have of their family functioning, measuring: the dynamics of the familiar functioning; the perception that the parental couple has about parenting and family functioning; the similarities between fathers and mothers in the perception of these dimensions. Materials and Methods: The sample included 50 mothers of   mentally disabled children. The sample was taken from selected special school. They completed: Family Assessment tool was used to assess specific aspects of family functioning, such as problem solving, communication, roles, affective response  and involvement, behavioral control and general functioning; Family Adaptability and Cohesion Evaluation Scales t  to measure family adaptability and cohesion. Results: Shows that highest percentage (40%) of the sample was in the age group of 20-25years. shows that maximum percentage (68%) of mothers  had average family function  20% had poor family  function , and 5% very  poor family function. The parents of disabled daughters showed significantly higher on following scales: cohesion, communication and satisfaction. In contrast, the parents who have male sons showed high scores in the scale of flexibility. Parents of children with autism reported higher scores than the parents of children with pervasive developmental disorders in the following scales: cohesion, communication and satisfaction. Conclusions: Children depend on their parents and caregivers for stability, safety, support, and assistance in helping them make sense of adverse events and life challenges. By strengthening community support and attending to parent and caregiver needs and well-being, family-serving professionals will be doing their utmost to ensure that the special children and their families thrive.

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