The Family Life Project

Striking the balance: Sustainable family care for children with disabilities

Balancing work and family demands is an integral part of everyday life for all families. More than eighty thousand Canadian families face an additional challenge: balancing work and family and the extra-ordinary workload and responsibilities that come with caring for a child with disabilities. When the demands of work and family and care clash, the resulting tension can have adverse effects including but not limited to clinically significant levels of parent-carer stress, anxiety and depression, and the out-of-home placement of children with disabilities.

The focus of this study was on the everyday challenge and accomplishment of sustaining a routine of family life that accommodates the needs and interests of a child with disabilities and all other family members. One objective was to examine the relationship between sustainability of the daily routine and family propensity to seek out-of-home placement for their child with disabilities. A second objective was to investigate child-specific, within-family and social-ecological factors influencing sustainability of the daily routine.

This three year project was funded by PolicyWise for Children and Families (formerly the Alberta Centre for Child, Family and Community Research), and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Publications

McConnell, D., Savage, A., Breitkreuz, R., & Sobsey, D. (2016). Sustainable Family Care for Children with Disabilities. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 25(2), 530-544.

McConnell, D., Savage, A., Sobsey, D., & Uditsky, B. (2015). Benefit-finding or finding benefits? The positive impact of having a disabled child. Disability & Society, 30(1), 29-45.

McConnell, D., Parakkal, M., Savage, A., & Rempel, G. (2015). Parent-mediated intervention: adherence and adverse effects. Disability and rehabilitation, 37(10), 864-872.

Breitkreuz, R., Wunderli, L., Savage, A., & McConnell, D. (2014). Rethinking resilience in families of children with disabilities: A socioecological approach. Community, Work & Family, 17(3), 346-365.

McConnell, D., Savage, A., & Breitkreuz, R. (2014). Resilience in families raising children with disabilities and behavior problems. Research in developmental disabilities, 35(4), 833-848.