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Interpreting the meaning of communication and its impairments, held by parents from Kerala, India.

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Aim
Parents of children with complex communication needs (CCNs) are often expected to play a role in therapy, yet there remains little research about their experiences of having a child with CCN. The purpose of this study was to investigate their perception regarding child’s communication and experiences of communication impairment.
Method
Interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) was employed in an in-depth study of a sample of parents of children with CCNs. Purposive sampling was used to identify participants. Semi-structured interviews were carried out with 16 parents of 15 children with CCNs aged from 3 to 27 years who were all obtaining services in a rehabilitation center in Kerala.
Results
From IPA data analysis there emerged several themes related to the child, family and larger society. This presentation specifically focuses on the theme, ‘communication’ because of its importance to the development of clinician-family collaboration and effective service delivery. The theme of ‘communication’, consisted of the following sub themes: a) Sense-making strategies in parent child dyads, b) Social interaction opportunities/barriers for the child, c) Nature of communication impairment, d) The perceived proportion of disability contributed by the communication impairment, and e) Parental affective reaction to the child’s communication impairment.
Conclusion
The identification and description of the ‘communication’ theme enabled the researcher to move to the interpretative level and determine what meaning parents derived from the experiences of their child’s communication impairment.

Author(s):

Monica Kaniamattam    
UNIVERSITY OF LOUISIANA AT LAFAYETTE
United States

Judith Oxley    
UNIVERSITY OF LOUISIANA AT LAFAYETTE
United States

Jack Damico    
UNIVERSITY OF LOUISIANA AT LAFAYETTE
United States

 

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