Date of Award

1999

Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Physical Therapy (MPT)

Department

Physical Therapy

First Advisor

Peggy Mohr

Keywords

Disabled Children; Family; Social Support

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine the need and feasibility of a family-to-family network within the state of North Dakota. The model for this family support network would include a process of matching experienced or "veteran" parents or a family member who has a child with a disability with parents or other family members who are just beginning to meet the challenge of a disability within the family.

The research was designed to determine priorities of families with children with disabilities as well as effective methods of recruitment, referral, and training. Furthermore, the research identified agencies and programs within North Dakota that were currently providing family support services as well as opportunities for interagency collaboration. Data were obtained through the use of survey instruments distributed to agencies/providers working with families with children with disabilities ages birth through eighteen. Additionally, families with children with disabilities were involved in focus interview discussion groups to identify the needs and design of a family support network.

While there are a variety of programs and agencies within the state of North Dakota which provide certain family support services, there does not exist an organized, coordinated, statewide family-to-family network or process for systematically matching experienced "veteran" parents of a family member with a disability with new parents or family members who are just beginning to meet the challenges of a disability within their family. Agencies/providers and families with children with disabilities agree that the need exists and that the implementation of a statewide network would be beneficial for both families and providers.

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