Based on study done by Jeste Sprey of Case Western University in association with the National council on family relations.

Disabled children and their Parents

-The majority of the parents, especially those who had already had a normal child, did not suspect during the pregnancy period that their child would be disabled. Many said, "you see these things, but you think, 'This will never happen to me'". a few however, did recall strong doubts about the health of their child during the prenatal period.

-Most parents had planned their pregnancies and were looking forward with happy anticipation. Most of the parents had only limited knowledge about birth defects and held stereotyped attitudes toward the handicapped, typical of others in society. With a few exceptions, parents were generally not overly concerned during pregnancy with the possibility that their child might be disabled.


First Reaction

In most cases, both parents and professionals describe the reaction to the initial information that a child is disables as one of shock, disbelief, grief, tension, loss, helplessness, confusion, disappointment, anger sorrow, frustration, anxiety, or physical exhaustion. "In addition, mothers report feelings of isolation as a result of being separated from other mothers on maternity wards, while fathers sometimes are too disturbed to immediately return to work. (Walker, 1971)
Spousal Relationships
The great amount of parental attention that handicapped children elicit is likely to cause problems for the parents' other significant others: spouse and other children.
Several studies (walkter, 1971; Kolin 1971; Hare,1986) report cases of marital breakdown that appear to be attributable, at least in part, to the handicapped child. However, a minority of parents has reported that the birth of the child "brought them closer together."
Living Day by day
According to many studies, many parents seem to be able to anticipate their child's adulthood favorably. Such a positive outlook seems to be accomplished by finding pleasure in some real role the child will be able to play rather than by dwelling on roles that are unattainable. Thus, a number of parents stressed the companionship role, seeing the children as future "pals" even after their siblings have left home. Such variations in wishful thinking do not seem to be correlated with attitudes toward the real child. Many define their handicapped children as being quite far from ideal, but such a definition may not indicate anything about the parents' ability to love, nurture, and accept such children despite their shortcomings. Some of the parents with the lowest real-ideal correspondence had children with the most severely handicaps. Typically these parents were bitter and disappointed for their children sake. They were upset hat their children had to suffer but were still able to enjoy their offspring and to attempt to provide the best possible life for them under the circumstances. If not totally accepting, they were at least committed to their children and to their welfare.
Mother, Father
The tendency of fathers to idealize their children may result from their relative lack of relevant interactional experience. Generally, mothers spend more time with their children and are consequently more aware of the extent of their children's handicaps. Mothers also tend to bear more of the burden of their children's daily care, a burden that no doubt promotes a realistic rather then idealistic assessment of their situation. The frequency and intensity of mother child interaction is also likely to increase the mother's commitment to her role, however, resulting in greater love or acceptance of the child. Many studies showed that parents of handicapped children tend to define their offspring realistically. Although they with their children were normal, they are able to appreciate the positive attributes that their children do possess in spite of their handicaps. Mothers tend to be slightly more realistic than fathers, and parents of both sexes are less satisfied with their expectations for the future than with their conceptions of the present.
In parents that have been studied, expressed positive attitudes toward their handicapped children. Their acceptance was not unqualified though. "Many noted periods in the past when they were not completely accepting. In most cases, acceptance seemed to be the outcome of an of an interactional sequence in which the children themselves became major significant others." Generally, acceptance was realistic: children were valued in spite of their limitations. Only a few parents, all