An investigation of burden and respite experienced by families of d sabled children enrolled in Children's Special Services summer program

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MacDonald, Wendy E.
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Children's Special Services provides an out of home respite service for children with developmental disabilities in the City of Winnipeg. The present study explores the characteristics of the burden of care experienced by the families of handicapped children who attended the program. A secondary purpose of the study is to explore the relationship between burden and the children's attendance at the program. Parents' and workers' assessments of the impact of the program on the families' lives as well as the parents' expression of consumer satisfaction with the program enabled an appraisal of whether camp attendance provided respite from burden. The study findings challenge the prevalent assumption that burden is related to age, gender, type and severity of disability and level of overall child problem behaviour. Furthermore, burden was not found to be related to parental characteristics such as age, level of education, family income, or type of parental employment. This study found a relationship between employed mothers and a lower level of burden, a lower level of child problem behaviour and a positive sense of renewal and nurturance expressed by the parents due to the impact of the program. Mother's employment was not related to family income, type or level of disability, or age of the child. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)