Parental work: An account of the day-to-day activities of parents of adults with learning disabilities

Julia Shearn, S. Todd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The parental role can be an enduring one for many people with sons or daughters with learning disabilities. Despite this, there has been little research on parents' experiences during their offspring's adult years. The present paper examines the different dimensions of work undertaken by parents in the care of their adult offspring and how they felt these had changed over the years. The paper also explores how parents seek to combine parental work with other aspects of their lives. Data for this study were derived from a qualitative, in-depth study of the experiences of parents of 33 co-resident adult offspring with learning disabilities. The data suggest that the long-term nature of parenting involves both stability and change. For example, some parents had experienced a depletion of physical resources and enthusiasm that made it difficult for them to carry out some aspects of parental work. Parents had also met new difficulties, such as the handling of the disclosure of learning disability to their offspring, as well as to members of the public. For all parents, parenting had remained an extensive involvement, so that they still found it difficult to meet the demands of parenting, and their own non-parental tasks and interests. The data also indicate that service intervention needs to be based on an appreciation of the temporal and personal difficulties in parents' lives, and that service intervention can add to the perceived burden of carers without such an appreciation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)285-301
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Intellectual Disability Research
Volume41
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1997

Keywords

  • Day-to-day activites
  • Grown-up children
  • Parents

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