Exceptional children are not the only ones who are impacted the family is too. Families play a key role with involvement with helping the child on a day-to-day basis. The impact on the family comes in different ways, the parents are not the only ones who are impacted, and it ranges from the siblings of the child with disabilities to the long distance cousins. A child with a disability can often place a set of extra demands or challenges on the family. Each family member will play some type of role in the child’s life. Family is the support and care system for the child throughout their life but it is often overlooked at the impact of each family member and how they function. The impact could be something small or life changing for the family member.
The first family members that are impacted are the parents of the child. They are impacted in many ways. The first way is learning how to care for the exceptional child. There are many challenges the parents can face when caring for the Exceptional Child. Many parents of exceptional Children experience a “range of emotions, but it is within such turmoil, that with support, they can begin to transform family life, and to shape new goals and expectations”. Each parent handles the situation of accepting they have an exceptional child from the moment they are told. “Parents differ in their responses to the situation. Some have the potential to achieve an impressive level of coping, maintain a positive outlook, and restructuring and sustaining life”. Each parent plays an important role in caring for the child. For the fathers, stress is one impact they face. “Although not all fathers considered the experience raising a child with disabilities as stressful, those who did have high stress perceived their children as less adaptable and acceptable, as well as more demanding, moody, and distractible. Fathers with high stress also had increased depression and decreased attachment to the child.”. Fathers are sometimes faced with stress due to different factors. When caring for an exceptional child they may feel more pressured in many aspects. They may feel stress from making sure they are able to provide everything needed in caring for the child with the income they make. “While family members may look to the father for support at this time, his own needs often go unrecognized by professionals”. Fathers often work closely with their significant others in the day-to-day care of the child. The support systems for the fathers are often a close friend or family member. One support system fathers can look to be practitioners. However, “the level of involvement fathers had with services varied considerably, often depending on their age and the complexity of their support needs”. Fathers often have difficulty finding the time available to meet with practitioners usually because the flexibility of their employer. “All of the fathers gave a high priority to attending meetings and appointment”. Fathers with children with disabilities are often the workers and providers in the family system. Impacts on mothers and fathers vary depending on each individual and how they are handling raising a child with disabilities.
Mothers are often the ones who are the most impacted. “Large population studies show that in 94-98% of cases, mothers are the primary caregivers and persons most knowledgeable about the health and needs of a child with a disability.”. Each mother goes through different emotions when learning they have an exceptional child. Often mothers are overcome with depression, or impacted with challenges of the daily stress that is faced when caring for their child. Children are different in their own way; with exceptional children they are also exceptional in their own ways. Each mother is faced with a different challenge and impact compared to the other, the factor is the disability the child has. Mothers are the nurturers to the child. Mothers often seek professional help in...
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