The role of psychosocial counseling in the lives of parents having children with neurodevelopmental disabilities

by Liz
(South Africa)

Original Text: The role of psychosocial counseling in the lives of parents having children with neurodevelopmental disabilities


As a professional social worker involved in counseling parents of children that have neurodevelopmental disabilities, the interest developed in this area of research also because I have been involved in HIV and TB units at Tygerberg hospital. In the interaction with these parents, the severe psychosocial impact that children with neurodevelopmental disabilities have on the parent was evident. Mainly, the mothers find it very difficult to accept their child’s disability and experience a lack of support from their family members. Furthermore, some parents indicate that they find the counseling service at the hospital to be minimal, which only focused on the child’s disability and healthcare treatment outcomes. The parents felt that their psychosocial needs are not being satisfied through counseling and that they needed a “professional ear” to listen to them. This led the researcher to ask whether the current counseling system is adequate especially since parents felt that they are not included.
This proposed study will provide social workers and the rest of the multi disciplinary team with information on the needs of parents concerning psychosocial counseling and propose strategies on how counseling services for parents can be included in the child’s treatment health programme.

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Revised Text: The Role of Psychosocial Counseling in the Lives of Parents Having Children with Neuro-developmental Disabilities

As a professional social worker involved in counseling parents of children that have neuro-developmental disabilities, I have developed an interest in this area of research, and additionally because I have been involved in the HIV and TB units at Tygerberg hospital. In the interactions with these parents, the severe psychosocial impact that children with neuro-developmental disabilities have on the parents was evident.

Mainly, the mothers find it very difficult to accept their child’s disability and experience a lack of support from their family members. Furthermore, some parents indicate that they find the counseling service at the hospital to be minimal, which only focuses on the child’s disability and healthcare treatment outcomes. The parents felt that their psychosocial needs are not being satisfied through counseling and that they needed a “professional ear” to listen to them.

This led the researcher to ask whether the current counseling system is adequate, especially since parents felt that they are not included.
This proposed study will provide the social workers, and the rest of the multi-disciplinary team, with information on the needs of parents concerning psychosocial counseling and will propose strategies for how counseling services for parents can be included in the child’s health treatment programme.

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