SUPPORT OR BARRIER? THE NEED TO FOSTER POSITIVE EXPECTATIONS IN PARENTS OF CHILDREN WITH DOWN SYNDROME: A LITERATURE REVIEW
The types of support that the family of a child with Down syndrome (DS) gives or receives can positively affect family coping and influence the child’s development. In 2012, one of the authors had the privilege of working as the tutor of a boy with DS who was one year old. The opportunity of sharing with the boy day after day for almost three years and the commitment of his family in his development were the motivation for exploring the types of support which families with a DS child give or receive. Hence, besides showing the current investigation trend in the field, this study aimed to present an up-to date literature review that collects publications of the last ten years. Additionally, the researchers examined the need of emotional, instrumental, informational or companionship support given by the child’s family, professionals, other families of children with DS and other support networks. For this purpose, the authors explored ERIC, SCOPUS, WOS, DIALNET PLUS, EBSCO databases and DOWN Magazine for studies published between 2006 and 2016. A total of 30 studies were retrieved for the analysis. The publications were selected with the use of inclusion and exclusion criteria. For instance, selected articles appeared as complete documents in Spanish, English, French, Portuguese or German. Also, included articles focused on the support that families of a child with DS gives or receives, inter alia. Findings revealed there was emotional, instrumental and companionship support in family’s support towards children with DS. However, in professionals’ support towards the families of children with DS, there has been a lack of instrumental and informational support. Whilst in other families with children with DS’s support and in other networks’ support towards the family, there was emotional, instrumental and companionship support. Furthermore, after this study, the authors decided to inquire on parents’ positive expectations, as a potentially influential attitude in the parents of a child with DS. Therefore, future research will focus on parental positive expectations which foster global development enhancement of the child with DS.