Thursday, 6 September 2012

Families research in the field of intellectual disability and autism

The International Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual and Developmental Disability has published online a review of the state of the evidence on families of children with intellectual disability (learning disability in the UK) or autism. This is not a systematic review of all research evidence but more of a consensus process drawing on researchers internationally who work in the field.

There has been considerable interest in how families might be affected by having a child with significant disability in the family for some three decades or more. Family needs are important to understand so that the whole family is supported, and also that there is a positive family environment within which children with disabilities can develop.

The statement clearly identifies that although families may be under increased stress compared to other families, there are also significant positive experiences associated with raising a child with disability. These positive experiences can get over-looked.

Researchers are also clear in the statement about what we know very little about: the variety of family structures, families outside of Western societies, and what supports might work best to enable families to flourish and to continue to stay connected to their child with disability.

The document can be downloaded free as a pdf from the following website: