Raising a Child with Intellectual Disabilities in Ethiopia: What Do Parents Say?
Parental experiences in raising children with intellectual disability in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia are described. Using a qualitative research approach, interviews from eleven families formed a rich contextual data base, in addition to informal observations, informal conversations, discussions with key informants, and document review. Findings show that parents face emotional, social, economic, material challenges while raising their children. Themes related to insufficient information and training related to intellectual disability, insufficient formal/informal supports, unfavourable attitudes on the part of the society towards children with intellectual disability, worries about the future, financial problems, lack of materials. Results are discussed in terms of the socio-cultural theoretical framework as well as the salutogenic perspective that focuses on strengths and coping strategies. The author proposes that, to tap into the familial strengths, a systems approach to empowering families may be effective if traditional institutions within the society are encouraged to include families of children with intellectual disabilities. (Contains 5 figures and 2 footnotes.) [This paper was written with Ann Nevin.].
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