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Psicologia: Reflexão e Crítica

Print version ISSN 0102-7972On-line version ISSN 1678-7153


SILVA, Nara Liana Pereira  and  DESSEN, Maria Auxiliadora. Children with Down syndrome and their family interactions. Psicol. Reflex. Crit. [online]. 2003, vol.16, n.3, pp.503-514. ISSN 0102-7972.

Disabled children exert strong impact on the families' dynamic that need to be better investigated. This study aims to a) describe some aspects of the Down syndrome children's development and family life according to parents and b) identify the patterns of family interaction, emphasising the parent-child subsystems. Six families consisting of father, mother and preschool child with Down syndrome were selected: to participate in this study. A questionnaire was answered by mothers and semi-structured interviews by mothers and fathers, separately. Eighteen behaviour observations were conducted in the families' residence consisting of 171 minutes of video recording of free home activity sessions. The results show that the activities were carried out by family members with predominance of the "joint participation". The family interactions were developed in a "synchronised" way, with "supervision", "leadership", and "friendship". Our data suggest the need of focusing on the role of the father in order to better understand the functioning of Down syndrome children's families.

Keywords : Family interactions; Down syndrome; direct observation of behaviour; preschool children.

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