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The Psychosocial Impact of Having a Brother or Sister with a Lifelong Intellectual Disability

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The aim of the research is to conduct a needs assessment of siblings of individuals with intellectual disability. The findings would help social workers, counselors and other professionals to improve support and service delivery to the affected family. The findings would also highlight specific psychosocial difficulties faced by these siblings. The aim was reached by focusing on specific objectives.   The objectives of this research are exploratory and descriptive. The focus is on understanding the effects on siblings of individuals with intellectual disability. The study would also identify and recommend suitable support systems for these affected siblings.

a) Objective-1: Undertake preliminary literature survey with a view to understand and build a conceptual framework on available family support systems to individuals with intellectual disability. The study would discern what specific psychosocial effects do the families, especially siblings, of affected individuals’ experience. b) Objective-2: Undertake semi-structured interviews, administer questionnaires, and carry-out observation, to explore, and understand the psychosocial pressures and trauma on siblings of individuals with intellectual disability. This would include amongst others, family life, education, career, bonding and marriage, health, and societal and counseling support systems. c) Objective-3: Describe the needs of siblings of individuals with intellectual disability.

Through interviews and observations, the study shall identify emerging themes. The study shall also explore available institutional and social support systems and identify gaps between established needs and available services. d) Objective-4: The outcomes from the study shall be validated through peer and expert reviews and shall actively involve the participants to make firm recommendations for improving support delivery and counseling services to the families, especially siblings, of individuals with intellectual disability. The recommendations with supporting analysis – qualitative and quantitative, shall be published in the thesis report.      

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