Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine
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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 40  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 406-413

Perception of families of children with specific learning disorder: An exploratory study

1 Department of Psychiatry, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India
2 Department of Clinical Psychology, Holy Family Hospital, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Anamika Sahu
Department of Psychiatry, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi - 110 029
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/IJPSYM.IJPSYM_148_18

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Background: Parents have a tremendous influence on their children's academic and social success. Unfortunately, a majority of them do not have a concrete idea on how to assist their children, impacting negatively on both the parents and the child. Currently, there is sparse research on parents' experiences in dealing with children with specific learning disorders (SLD). The current study was planned to explore the perception of families of children with SLD. Materials and Methods: Five focus group discussions (FGDs) including 30 parents of children with SLD aged between 8 and 14 years were carried out. Each group composed of five − seven participants. A format to guide FGDs was made to bring uniformity across groups. The transcripts were analyzed using the content analysis method to extract key conceptual themes. Results: The parents showed lack of conceptual knowledge with regard to the SLD symptomatology as well as proper guidelines to deal with their child's problem. They displayed negative attitudes and reactions toward their child's diagnosis of SLD, such as rejection, denial, over-protection, and loss of hope. Their caregiving was also perceived to place physical, personal, social, financial, and emotional burden by the majority of parents. Conclusion: The study highlights the experiences of parents dealing with SLD in terms of their inadequate knowledge, adaptational difficulties, and burden. The findings also reiterate the need to focus on family perspective and experiences when working with a learning-disabled child. Various supportive strategies are required to empower families, which would help alleviate their burden. Moreover, parents' training to strengthen child's learning skills is also warranted.

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