Adult-child interaction and intervention with families who have children with special educational needs (From 2003 to 2006)

Project Leader:

Zilda Fidalgo

Project's Summary:

The project will be developed within two research lines that are linked by their main objectives.

In the first line we will focus on Down syndrome children and their parents, and will develop studies on maternal perceptions on childcare, education and interaction when children have cognitive disabilities, as well as studies on mother-child and father-child interaction within a teaching situation. These kinds of studies will involve small number of participants and the data will be analysed mostly with qualitative methodology, giving us in-dept information about the mechanisms that parents use to adjust to the fact that they have to care for a special child.

In the second line we will study the perceptions of families of children with developmental delays and different types of disabilities. We will evaluate the process of early intervention with these children and families and the degree in which it is family-centred, as well as the programs response to families needs and priorities. We will compare families' and early intervention professionals' perceptions. Within this line of research there will be longitudinal single-case studies, with solid information on what happens within the early intervention program, evaluation studies of specific projects and of several programs within Lisbon County.

Project’s aims:

Within the two lines of research we have as main objectives:
  1. To understand parents feelings on the birth and development of Down syndrome children, and the way those feelings and the success of their adaptation process influences parent-child interaction and child development;
  2. To develop observational methods that will give us a closer look into what happens when parents try to teach their Down syndrome children and what are the most successful strategies they use;
  3. To adapt instruments to evaluate parents' and professionals' perceptions on the process of early intervention and the way early intervention programs are responsive to family’s needs and priorities;
  4. To evaluate the quality of early intervention programs and the way in which they implement the most actual theoretical models and the recommended practices in what concerns child and family evaluation, intervention planning, and family-centred approach.

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