"Special" families and their "normal" daily lives: family quality of life and the social environment

This article focuses on the social and societal factors that influence family quality of life (FQOL). In this qualitative study from the Netherlands, a multiple case study design was used, in which members of families having a child or children with intellectual and developmental disabilities talked about their experiences during interviews. The data were analysed through a rigorous inductive thematic analysis. Our findings relate to the families’ experiences with their social environment and especially with the support they received. We argue that processes of acceptance and understanding play a role in FQOL. Also, we illustrate how the family members experience their interaction with the community, and how moral norms and values could influence the lives of the families. The families reflected on notions of normality and being different, and sometimes struggled with the implicit norms and values of society, which can impede acceptance and understanding by others. In turn, these norms and values influence the level of support from other people and the possibilities for social interaction with the community.

Femke Boelsma, Alice Schippers, Menco Dane en Tineke Abma
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International Journal of Child, Youth and Family Studies, 2018, 9 (4): 107–124.