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Parenting in the context of DLD - Parental experience in connection with difficulties of the child
HABRDOVÁ, Kateřina
The dissertation focuses on the psychosocial impact of developmental language disorder on a family and particularly parental life, namely the quality of parental life. In six chapters the theoretical part of the thesis presents the current view of specific language impaiment (developmental language disorder, DLD), its diagnostics and the therapy for it, as well as the system of support for children with DLD in the Czech Republic and the issue of parenting of a speech handicapped child. The goals of the empirical part were to give a description of the parental hardships caused by DLD in a child, identify the affected life dimensions, define ways of providing effective support for these parents and describe its impact on the parents' competencies, experience and ways of coping. Qualitative methods have been used in the empirical part of the thesis. The exploratory set for the study was made up of 25 parents (6 fathers and 19 mothers) from 20 families. A family's inclusion in the research was conditioned upon a diagnosis of DLD in at least one child of the family by a qualified specialist. The ages of the children ranged from 3 to 13 years, and school age children and preschoolers were represented roughly evenly. The parents were interviewed via semistructered in-depth interviews. They were given a questionnaire created by the author that was to show the characteristics of the participants and their families. Some of the participants also filled in a brief diary chart. The data obtained through the semistructured interviews have been processed though ATLAS.ti software and transformed into a grounded theory. The research has shown the complexity of the hardships experienced by parents and families when they have a child with DLD. The hardships experienced by these parents are in most aspects comparable to those experienced by parents of children with more serious handicaps, though their features dynamically change according to the child's age and the progress of his/her symptoms. During preschool age the main problems are the child's speech difficulties and various aspects of caring for the child. On the other hand the development of specific learning and behaviour disabilities and socialization disorders is the dominant problem when the child reaches school age. Further the research has shown the crucial role of providing support to parents of DLD children as a way to prevent failures in the parenting of such children. Four types of support provision have been identified based on different levels of expertise and the personal contact between the provider and the person receiving the support. Expertise, awareness, individual characteristics and the support provision system were identified as the intervening variables. The main characteristics of effective support provision were found to be orientation, the time-aspect, accessibility and communication. The consequences of support provision for parental coping suggest the importance of combining different support types and the significance of parent-provider dynamics. In the parental coping strategies five types of strategies have been identified in accordance with parental activity and the impact of the support.

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