Families with blind children: parents’ perceptions of their experience with professionals and the place of social work

Rūta Butkevičienė, Nijolė Majerienė, W. David Harrison


Studies on the issues of the families with disabled children in Lithuania show that these families encounter various problems that are difficult to solve this transitional period, when the gap between what is desirable and what is possible is so great across a wide range of conditions. Professionals’ role in family adaptation and effective functioning is critical. The aims of this study are: 1) to present the essential results of a study of parents’ perceptions of their experience with professionals; 2) to develop the findings into research – based implications for valuable social work roles and ways to support these families. The negative experience concerning the relationships with physicians in the early period of disability was dominant in mothers’ narratives. This experience involved mothers’ perception about being not provided with information they needed, being ignored and devaluated by physicians. Mothers expect sympathetic, understanding and approachable manner from specialists. A social worker might be expected to fill missing elements of early interactions of parents and professionals, and to base their practice on main principals of social work: to “meet the client where the client is”, to help maintain “hope – discomfort balance”, to secure continuation of family support.


blind child; family; professionals; interaction; information

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"Social Work" ISSN online 2029-2775 / ISSN print 1648-4789