Changes of Inner and Social Life of the Families that Raise Disabled Children

Stasė Ustilaitė, Ieva Kuginytė-Arlauskienė, Leticija Cvetkova


The birth of a disabled child creates a stressful family situation and changes the inner and social life in the family changes. It predetermines existential problems of the family that raises a disabled child. The article seeks to answer the following problematic questions: What changes in inner life are characteristic to families that raise a disabled child? How does the birth of a disabled child influence the social position of the family? What encounters and experiences strengthen the family? Having conducted qualitative research, categories have been singled out, the content of which reveal these changes: an initial reaction of members of the family to the birth of a disabled child and inner and social changes of the family. Changes in the inner life of the family that raises a disabled child are connected with the change of purposefulness of personal life, the test of marital relationship, the acquisition of new skills and responsibility when realizing the significance of the birth of a child and giving meaning to themselves anew. After the birth of a disabled child families are influenced by both internal and social environmental stressors that influence the dynamics of their functioning. Social changes in the family come to light in the areas of career possibilities, the modification of living environment, the search of information and resources. Child disability supposes the change of parental expectations that create fear about the future of the family, problems of reconciliation with the fact of a disability; however certain families are mobilized by such a situation. Faith in God allows a person to have greater assurance of himself and the child; leave his fears and anxiety behind, and the possibility arises for the inner strengths of the parents to be revealed.


family that raises a disabled child; child disability; changes of inner life; social changes

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