|Title:||Influences in the Social Worlds of Children of Mothers with Intellectual Disability|
research with children
|Publisher:||University of Sydney.|
Faculty of Health Sciences.
|Abstract:||Background Our understanding of childhood for children of mothers with intellectual disability is based on a small number of retrospective accounts which point to some social difficulties, including bullying and stigma. Most research on mothers with intellectual disability and their children has focused on the possibility of developmental delay or abuse and neglect, with little consideration of children’s experiences. The voices of children and their perspective on their lives are missing. The literature suggests that some mothers with intellectual disability experience social isolation, with few friends or family and reliance on formal services for support. However, it is not yet known whether a potentially restricted social context for these mothers influences the social experiences of their children. Children’s social worlds typically expand during middle childhood as they start school, join community activities, play in neighbourhoods and spend time with peers. This study addresses a knowledge gap by exploring the social worlds of home, school, peers and neighbourhood for children of mothers with intellectual disability from their perspective to better understand the influences that shape their lives. Aim and method The study takes a standpoint informed by bioecological theory and the sociology of childhood. Together they provide a framework to explain the interconnected nature of children and their environment, whereby interactions in everyday contexts shape children’s lives in ways they are uniquely positioned to identify. Seven children aged 7 to 11 years took part in semi-structured interviews and activities, such as drawing and photography, to explore their perspectives on everyday life. A narrative approach was employed to analyse children’s stories about what was important in the social worlds of home, school, peers and neighbourhood as this helped to explain how they perceived influences that shaped their social worlds. Findings The narratives of the children suggested that the social world of home influenced social interactions in other settings. When children perceived their home as predictable and secure, they spoke more confidently about exploring social interactions elsewhere. Children identified having support from another significant adult apart from their mother as key to a stable home social world. This person might be a father, family friend or relative, or a formal support worker. Children from homes that lacked predictability and another significant adult were more pessimistic about social interactions and experienced peer difficulties such as bullying. However, children whose homes lacked social support could counteract this by maximising the opportunities afforded at school. Some aspects of their social worlds that these children viewed as important, such as agency and safety, were typical in middle childhood however others, such as protectiveness toward their mother, were not. Significance of the findings The findings highlight that social worlds for children are not inevitably restricted when their mothers have intellectual disability, even when their mother faces restricted social circumstances. The findings challenge an assumption frequently found in the literature that mothers with intellectual disability may provide less than optimal environments for their children and, specifically, for their social worlds in middle childhood.|
|Description:||Open Access version available at http://hdl.handle.net/2123/12033|
|Access Level:||Access is restricted to staff and students of the University of Sydney . UniKey credentials are required. Non university access may be obtained by visiting the University of Sydney Library.|
|Rights and Permissions:||The author retains copyright of this thesis. It may only be used for the purposes of research and study. It must not be used for any other purposes and may not be transmitted or shared with others without prior permission.|
|Type of Work:||PhD Doctorate|
|Type of Publication:||Doctor of Philosophy Ph.D.|
|Appears in Collections:||Sydney Digital Theses (University of Sydney Access only)|
|2014_Susan_Elizabeth_Collings_cp.pdf||Final Thesis||8.17 MB||Adobe PDF|
Items in Sydney eScholarship Repository are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.