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Position and the needs of siblings of children with special needs

Natalija Sagadin (2015) Position and the needs of siblings of children with special needs. MSc thesis.

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    Abstract

    Family with a child with special needs faces various challenges, demands and adjustments. All of this also affects siblings of children with special needs, who often do not have same support and help as their parents, which have the option of connecting with other parents in similar situation and reading helpful literature. The intention of this Master’s degree is to research the position of siblings of children with special needs through theoretical analysis and analysis of the interviews and to form a basic starting point for development of help and support programme for siblings, which could also be formed in Slovenian region. We carried out interviews with 30 siblings, who were 8 to 13 years old, with the intention of researching their needs. We had discovered that siblings know their brothers and sisters with special needs well and in their freeform descriptions they mainly focused on describing their siblings personalities and the matters that siblings like. 24 siblings noticed special needs of their brother or sister with special needs on their own and later asked their parents about it. Sole information source for siblings are their parents, siblings also stated, that they do not have any questions, which they would be afraid to ask. Analysis of the answers showed 6 different styles of play between siblings. Almost half of siblings adjust their style of play to special needs of their brother or sister, some of them direct the game to their sibling with special needs or they try to motivate them to play. Siblings also direct and lead the play and in certain cases arrange for more safety and look out for their brother or sister with special needs. Siblings help with personal care, safeguarding, assistance (bringing and giving things, escorting to school, positioning into the chair) and with teaching, food serving and feeding. We made further statistical analysis about sibling help and play, which showed that regarding nursing there were not statistically significant differences about siblings gender or the order of birth. If the sibling was older or younger also did not have any influence on the form of play and activities between them. Higher or lower age of siblings of brothers or sisters with special needs however did have an influence on the style of the game. Even if they were younger, siblings still gave care, assistance, feeding and consolation to their brother or sister with special needs. This points to potential role asymmetry, which is characteristical attribute of the relationship in which one sibling has special needs. 20 siblings stated that their peers accepted their brother or sister with special needs, the rest faced minor or major difficulties on that subject. Peers asked siblings questions about their brother or sister with special needs, which they did not always knew how to answer. Regarding positive experiences of living with brother or sister with special needs they mentioned good relations, pride and admiration for their brother or sister with special needs. Regarding negative experiences of living with brother or sister with special needs they mentioned disruptive behavior of their brother or sister with special needs and mocking and staring of other people. Majority of siblings wished that their siblings with special needs would speak better, move easier and that their health would improve. Siblings shared their fears of the future, i.e. who would take care of their brother or sister with special needs, fear of possible operation, injury or even death. They also feared failure of their brother or sister with special needs in school and moving them to care institution. All of this was the basis for possible themes and areas, which could be included in workshops for siblings of children with special needs.

    Item Type: Thesis (MSc thesis)
    Keywords: siblings of children with special needs, researching the siblings needs, support and help programme
    Number of Pages: 88
    Language of Content: Slovenian
    Mentor / Comentors:
    Mentor / ComentorsIDFunction
    izr. prof. dr. Janez JermanMentor
    Link to COBISS: http://www.cobiss.si/scripts/cobiss?command=search&base=50126&select=(ID=10739785)
    Institution: University of Ljubljana
    Department: Faculty of Education
    Item ID: 3139
    Date Deposited: 07 Oct 2015 09:49
    Last Modified: 12 Nov 2015 16:46
    URI: http://pefprints.pef.uni-lj.si/id/eprint/3139

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