ERIC Number: ED305773
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1988-Sep-8
Reference Count: N/A
Psychosocial Services for Children with Special Health Care Needs and Their Families.
Thornes, Richard H.
A psychologist, who is the father of a child with a neuromuscular disorder, discusses psychosocial services for special needs children and their families. Parents are identified as the key to the family's mental health. Parents' feelings upon learning of their child's handicap include anger, blaming others and self, and guilt. These feelings are followed by grief, depression, and physical and emotional exhaustion, often aggravated by financial problems and changes in relationships with friends. The handicap impacts on siblings as well, as family attention is focused on the handicapped child, and nonhandicapped siblings are expected to assume more home responsibilities. As the handicapped child becomes aware of the handicap, feelings of loss, grief, anger, hopelessness, and despair may occur. A team of professionals trained in mental health skills is proposed to meet these psychosocial needs. The team should consist of a coordinator, social worker, physical therapist, nurse, religious leader, and medical staff. The team's initial role in helping the family would be crisis management; its role would change over the years as family situations changed. Other roles might include psychotherapy, educational planning, and information provision. Support groups are also an important component of providing psychosocial services. (JDD)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Surgeon General's Conference (Washington, DC., September 8, 1988).