Parent and child perceptions of the positive effects that a child with a disability has on the family
Lodewyks, Michelle R
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Historically, children with disabilities have been perceived as sources of stress, and disability has been portrayed in Western society as a tragedy to be avoided. This study used Appreciative Inquiry methodology and an integrated conceptual framework combining the Dynamic Ecological Systems Model, Cognitive Adaptation Theory, and components of the Affirmative Model of Disability. Qualitative interviews were conducted with ten children and sixteen parents to gain insight into their perceptions of the positive effects that a child with a disability has on the family. Findings suggest that children with disabilities can have some of the same positive effects on, and make some of the same contributions to, their families as any other child. They can also have unique positive effects and make unique contributions potentially unparalleled by their non-disabled peers. These findings may have implications for how disability is perceived by medical professionals, parents raising children with disabilities, and the public.