The apparent impression discerning from literature surveys is that of lack of consensus. Cuskelly puts it forthright; the research studies dealing with psychological adjustment of the siblings of individuals with disability, gives an impression of contradiction, or confusion (1999).
Another methodical advance of recent origin emphasizes quantitative research. This approach seeks to narrow the disagreements referred above through meta-analysis. The strategy used herein is to assess factors that produce inconsistencies, stemming from both, substantive and methodological.
One popular approach of quantitative research is that of vote-count meta-analysis, which presents a tabulation of studies by their outcomes. Using this technique, Howe reviewed 21 studies to show that there appears to be a negative psychological impact on siblings of intellectually challenged individual (1993). However, even here, conclusions vary. Summers et.al, reported both positive and negative consequences on the sibling of an individual with disability (1994).
The research problem embodies the research study, both in its scope and depth, and unambiguously defined (Fouche, 2005). In this study, the research problem is centered around the psychosocial effects on the siblings of individuals subject to intellectual disability.
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The prevalence of intellectual disability is generally estimated to be between 1-3% of the population. People with intellectual disability (PWID) represent a heterogeneous group with a varied range of highly complex needs, yet they remain among the most vulnerable members of society (O'Hara, 2008).
The underlying rationale and principles of care for PWID have undergone radical changes in countries such as, USA, Europe, Australia and Canada over the past four decades. The focus is now on civil and human rights, with social inclusion and citizenship free from discrimination (Bouras, 2002). The emphasis has shifted to the movement towards integration, participation and choice with the development of community based facilities, and growing empowerment and self advocacy for PWID and their families (Tsuda, 2006).
The family is seen as the most appropriate living environment for PWID, which is a function both of cultural values and availability of services (Special Olympics, 2003). In this context, this study shall identify with recommendations, the counseling and support needs of siblings of individuals with intellectual disability. The study shall also seek to integrate the current efforts of agencies, organizations and support groups with the findings of this study.
The researcher has selected the following main themes for focused study, research, and analysis with regard to siblings of children with intellectual disability:
a) Psychosocial risks: kind, intensity, short and long term effects
b) Coping strategies and family support systems
c) Society and community empathy, sensitivity and support systems
d) Cultural impact; gender impact; ageing factor; in adapting strategies
e) Positive spin-offs, if