Families with a child with a disability: The expectations toward services and psychology.

Rosa Maria Paniccia, Fiammetta Giovagnoli, Fiorella Bucci, Andrea Caputo


Twenty families with a school-age child with a disability, mainly coming from central Italy, were interviewed about what they thought about services they used. The interviews were analyzed by Emotional Text Analysis. Results highlight that families feel as strongly dependent on services, both public and private, experienced as centered on a healthcare technicality that is not able to accompany them towards a future where therapy and rehabilitation are not sufficient anymore. At the same time, the medical profession is recognized as the most present because it predominates in all services, both the healthcare and the educational ones. It is the only profession which gets in contact with families when at last they remain alone with the unresolved and hopeless problem regarding the future of their children with disabilities. As revealed by data, the school system is the single service that is not related to healthcare and aims at socialization. However, inclusion of persons with disabilities into a wider social context, compared to the family one, stops when finishing school. Also the school system is experienced as self-referential and unable to accompany people with disabilities toward a livable future. Psychological profession seems to be assimilated to the medical one, based on diagnostic and therapeutic self-referential techniques, and it does not help families in avoiding isolation and lack of future. The medical culture prevails because it is experienced as necessary and effective; however, this prevalence also highlights the significant failure of integration, as demonstrated by the lack of future and destiny of isolation experienced by persons with disabilities and their families.


disability, integration; family; coexistence; psychological intervention.

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Rivista di Psicologia Clinica. Teoria e metodi dell'intervento

Rivista Telematica a Carattere Scientifico Registrazione presso il Tribunale civile di Roma (n.149/2006 del 17/03/2006)

ISSN 1828-9363