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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 23  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 115-119

Impact of having a child with special needs on the psychosocial well-being of the parents: A cross-sectional study

1 Department of Family Counselling, Haji Ali, Mumbai, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, SMBT Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Centre, Nashik, Maharashtra, India
3 Centre for Child Development, Haji Ali, Mumbai, India
4 Department of Paediatric Rehabilitation, Navneet Hospital, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
Manasi S Padhyegurjar
Flat No. 1 Sanskriti Park, Akashwani, Gangapur Road, Nashik - 422 007, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jmhhb.jmhhb_24_18

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Context: Parenthood is one of the most demanding and a major milestone in the life of a couple. The task becomes more complicated if the newborn is a special child with different abilities. Parents suffer from unprecedented stress in the process of child-rearing. Efforts need to be made in understanding the problems faced by the parents and measures such as counseling services need to be made available to help them cope up with the issues. Aims: The aims of this study are (1) to evaluate the impact of having a child with special needs on the psychological, emotional, and social lives of the parents and (2) to assess the perceived need of parents for counseling services. Settings and Design: The design of the study was cross sectional with purposive sampling involving parents of special children who were being treated at two different centers at a suburb of a metro city. Subjects and Methods: Personal interviews were conducted by the researcher in local language. Statistical Analysis Used: The analysis was carried out using Microsoft Excel. Proportions were calculated, and Z-test of difference between two proportions was applied. Results: Dependency (76%), poor communication (50%), behavioral problems (68%), financial constraints (74%), stress and worry (94%), and reduced social life (60%) were some of the problems faced by affected parents. Special children were well accepted by society in general. Acceptance of the affected child by siblings was significantly less than parents (Z = 6.67, P < 0.01). There was a great (96%) perceived need for counseling services though hardly any parents (4%) have ever approached a counselor. Conclusions: Parents of children with special needs face multiple difficulties in day-to-day life. There was a perceived need for counseling services which if made available will help parents to cope up. Family and friends can be more effectively used as resource persons. Support groups of parents will be of help.

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