Professionals’ Perceptions of and Approach to Parents with Intellectual Disability: A Question of Knowledge?

Karin Jöreskog, Mikaela Starke


Research on the encounters and interaction between support professionals and parents with intellectual disability (ID) points to certain complications in their relationship, as viewed from either side. To better understand the professionals’ perspective on their work with families where parents have ID, this exploratory study looks at the perceptions and experiences of 21 Swedish professionals in the field. The theory of social representations is used to analyse the results from one interview study and one focus group study. Representations of parenting among parents with ID were created by anchoring them in the professionals’ own personal experiences, and then generalizing them through a process of objectification in which they were transferred as true knowledge to other situations involving other parents. The findings are discussed in relation to different working conditions and the nature and role of knowledge, referring to various theoretical points of departure in the understanding of disability and children’s needs.

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International Journal of Social Science Studies   ISSN 2324-8033 (Print)   ISSN 2324-8041 (Online)

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