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Revista Brasileira de Educação Especial

Print version ISSN 1413-6538


GRISANTE, Priscila Crespilho  and  AIELLO, Ana Lúcia Rossito. Family interactions: observation of different subsystems in a family with a child with Down Syndrome. Rev. bras. educ. espec. [online]. 2012, vol.18, n.2, pp.195-212. ISSN 1413-6538.

Research on family interactions of children with Down syndrome are rare and highlight almost exclusively the mother-child interaction. However, the literature indicates that it is necessary to include various family subsystems in order to understand the families' dynamic more fully. Additionally, factors that can alter the family's dynamic are quite diverse considering the impact generated by a disabled child. This study aimed to describe interaction patterns between a child with Down syndrome and his or her family members (father, mother, maternal grandmother, sister) considering subsystems with two, three or more than three members; and to characterize factors that can exert impact upon interaction patterns: socioeconomic level, stress levels, support network, marital adjustment. Several instruments were used to register the reports; direct observation sessions of family interaction in situations chosen by the participants were conducted. The results indicate that family members are the main sources of social support, and that the family members showed low stress levels and good marital adjustment. The interactions occurred mainly in the following categories: 'Group', 'Friendliness', 'Synchronicity' and 'Supervision'. The majority of the chosen activities came under the heading of 'Play', followed by 'Conversation'.

Keywords : Special Education; Family Context; Down Syndrome; Family and Education.

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