Abstract of K. Nasser lecture


K. Nasser, D. Sachs, A. Saar
Haifa University, Israel

Background: Out of home placement of children with Intellectual
Disability [ID] is a decision affected by socio-cultural factors. It is a
dramatic transition in the life cycle of the families, which affects the
quality of life and well-being of all family members. Contrary to postindustrial
countries and to Israeli-Jewish society, institutionalization is
a new phenomenon among Arabs in Israel. Despite relatively high
percentage of people with ID and lack of adequate services within the
community, Arab parents rarely consider out of home placement for
their children. Nevertheless, data shows an increase in the number of
Arab children with ID placed in institutions over the past 35 years. This
calls for further research. The purpose of the study was to reveal the
perceptions and experiences of Arab parents in the process of
deciding to institutionalize their children with ID. Method: In-depth
interviews were held with 18 families of children with ID living in two
residential facilities in the Galilee. Results: Two main interconnected
themes emerged: The decision to institutionalize was experienced by
the parents as painful and contradicted their perception of good
parenthood; yet it was perceived as the less bitter solution considering
the difficulties they faced raising a child with ID amidst negative social
attitudes towards disability, and lack of accessible support and
services. Discussion: We will discuss directions of interventions for
strengthening family involvement following institutionalization, which
are sensitive to the socio-cultural context of Arab society in Israel.

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