ERIC Number: ED201161
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1980
Psychological Effects on the Family of a Mentally Retarded Child.
Russell, Dorothy S.
The paper discusses the birth of a mentally retarded infant in terms of initial parent reactions, adjustment, decision to institutionalize, psychological effect on the mother, psychological effect on the father, impact on the marriage, and impact on siblings. The birth is a traumatic experience for the parents and can result in initial feelings of shock, grief, guilt, and shame, giving way to a general sense of depression, lowered self esteem, and lack of enjoyment of the handicapped child. Sensitive informed counseling is necessary, not only immediately but throughout the life cycle of the family. The thrust of early intervention programs with high risk infants is toward helping the parents stimulate their child to maximize cognitive and social/emotional development. It would not be too difficult to expand the function of these programs to provide the necessary counseling for parents and siblings of the handicapped child. Group counseling both for parents and siblings has been shown to be highly effective in helping parents and siblings express their feelings with regard to the handicapped child. Bringing parents together with like problems also facilitates parent to parent counseling and assistance. (Author/SB)
Publication Type: Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A