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Family differentials in the habilitation of children with a brain injury McCallum, Mary Freda

Abstract

Western society has advanced in the provision of services for disabled children, but their complete acceptance and integration within the community has yet to be achieved. The development of interdisciplinary team programs for diagnosis and treatment has nevertheless notably assisted this process. Social workers have an important contribution to make in this area, but there is still much to be done to standardize the information secured in their interviews with parents. An initial project in this direction was carried out in Vancouver last year in a speech and hearing clinic. The present project explores adaptations of this with the cerebral palsied child as representing one type of brain-injury. Two basic dimensions in the development of criteria and rating scales are: 1) the health and socio-emotional circumstances of the child; and 2) the family circumstances and home environment. The present study initially gives particular attention to the latter, and considers some of the relationships between this and assessments of the progress of the child in functional ability. Since only limited sampling is possible, measurement of the results is not taken very far. There is also evidence that this is primarily a middle income group. Case illustrations and some comparisons of criteria are used to supplement the conclusions. The qualitative characteristics of the criteria and their significance for diagnostic assessment is subjected to careful view. In the present context they are considered in terms of the interrelatedness of culture, values, role and stress. The brain-injured child may have a relatively mild or severe condition. While treatment may be complex, objectivity is essential in assessing habilitation potential. Differentials in family functioning as they pertain to parental relationships, emotional acceptance, understanding, and cooperation are highly relevant to effective remedial or educational procedures, or casework. Indeed, the assessment of environmental circumstances in terms of social functioning may further the eventual integration of the disabled child into the community. It is reasonable to anticipate results from continued research of the present kind.

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