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Volume 3, Pages 741-750
Review Article

The Birth of a Child with Disability. Coping by Parents and Siblings

1Faculty of Social Science, Department of Behavioral Sciences, Academic College of Judea and Samaria, Ariel, DN Ephraim 44837, Israel
2National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, Jerusalem, Israel

Academic Editor: Shlomo Kessel

Copyright © 2003 Isack Kandel and Joav Merrick.


When a child is born, the life of the family changes significantly and each of its members must adapt to the new situation. When the child is born with a disability, in addition to regular adaptation, the family must cope with stress, grief, disappointments, and challenges, which may lead to a serious crisis or even disruption of family life.Parents must coordinate assessments, evaluations, and various treatments while maintaining contact with many professionals and numerous institutions or services. They find themselves faced with important decisions on behalf of the child, decisions on management of the child with disability, and economic decisions that will affect the whole family.This paper reviews the literature on the topic of coping when a child with disability is born and also studies the question as to whether a connection exists between parental orientation toward feelings of guilt and the family relationships system. The event of a child born with a disability is always a tragedy for the family, but early intervention and support may help the family to adjust and become positively involved in the care and development of the child, even if that child is different and in need of special treatment.