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Growing up with a sibling with moderate intellectual disability

Tatjana Skerlep (2018) Growing up with a sibling with moderate intellectual disability. MSc thesis.

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    Birth of a child with special needs brings numerous changes into family dynamics. The burden of those changes largely lies on the shoulders of the siblings. A child who needs parents' special attention, their time and care, inevitably affects all the parts of a sibling's life. Even though they are often deprived of their parents' attention, the siblings can help relieve daily family processes since they take over the role of a caretaker of their brother or sister with special needs. Despite the fact that especially during growing up and identity maturation the siblings encounter similar questions and hesitations as their parents, they often do not have anyone to share those worries with, since they do not wish to additionally trouble their already overburdened parents, therefore keeping their emotions and worries to themselves. In the theoretical part of the thesis I emphasise the importance of relationship between the siblings, since they represent the model through which the younger sibling develops. If this relationship is in any way hindered, it can affect further developmental problems. Care for healthy development of all children is crucial since the siblings spend more time together in families with children with special needs than in families with normative siblings. With a positive attitude and a good example, the parents can influence how the sibling will feel inside the family and consequently how his or her relationship with the child with a mental disorder will be. Modern studies have noticed more and more positive influences of coexistence with a person with special needs but that is not the only possible scenario. Isolation, loneliness, overidentification, grudge, shame and sense of guilt can appear especially in child siblings. The empirical part uses qualitative research to give an insight into the experiences of mothers and siblings of children with special needs and their ways of coping with the challenges of family dynamics. Despite the fact that siblings mostly evaluate growing up with a child with special needs as positive, both the siblings and the mothers list a more relaxed atmosphere during a shorter absence of children with special needs. Similarly, the siblings do not tell their friends that their brother or sister has special needs. Even the mothers admit that they usually dedicated the time they could dedicate to all family members to the child with special needs, therefore neglecting the normative child. There were obvious differences in upbringing and indulgence on one side and too high expectations on the other side. Living with a child with special needs is a challenge for the entire family, that is why it is important that professionals also give attention to the needs of siblings, may it be in the shape of assistance and help by specialised institutions or support groups.

    Item Type: Thesis (MSc thesis)
    Keywords: mental disorder, child with special needs (CSN), siblings, sibling support
    Number of Pages: 56
    Language of Content: Slovenian
    Mentor / Comentors:
    Mentor / ComentorsIDFunction
    izr. prof. dr. Alenka KoboltMentor
    Link to COBISS: https://plus.si.cobiss.net/opac7/bib/12199241
    Institution: University of Ljubljana
    Department: Faculty of Education
    Item ID: 5455
    Date Deposited: 07 Nov 2018 13:17
    Last Modified: 07 Nov 2018 13:17
    URI: http://pefprints.pef.uni-lj.si/id/eprint/5455

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