Parental perceptions of information needs and service provision for children with developmental disabilities in rural Australia

Hussain, Rafat and Tait, Kathleen (2015) Parental perceptions of information needs and service provision for children with developmental disabilities in rural Australia. Disability and Rehabilitation, 37 (18). pp. 1609-1616. ISSN 0963-8288

Abstract

Purpose: Rural Australians comprise a third of the population. However, there are relatively few research studies that have focused on issues for children with developmental disabilities in rural regions. In particular, there is very limited research that gives voice to parents regarding challenges faced by them due to their location in rural regions.
Methods: This article is based on the qualitative component of a mixed-methods study undertaken in rural settings. In-depth, face-to-face interviews were conducted with 17 parents yielding 30 h of information rich taped data. Thematic analysis techniques were used to identify major issues.
Results: Three core themes emerged from analysis of the qualitative data regarding information and support needs: an ongoing lack of timely and relevant information about disabilities and support services; inadequacies in interactions with service providers particularly doctors and allied health staff; and considerable challenges and barriers to access and use of health services.
Conclusions: Within the constraints of limited rural service provision, there are still opportunities for considerable improvements, through focussed in-service training to narrow the information gap, improve provider-client interaction around attitudinal issues and uptake of tele-health to minimise the long waiting times and the need to regularly travel long distances to access services and setting up online support groups.
Implications for Rehabilitation
• There is limited information on challenges faced by parents of children with developmental disabilities in rural Australia.

• The challenges around lack of information about support systems available add to parental stress as does limited experience, frequent staff turnover and poor attitude of many service providers.

• There is a need to improve rural service provision. Feasible options within resource constraints include focussed in-service training to narrow the information gap, improve provider-client interaction around attitudinal issues, and uptake of tele-health services.

• Setting up of parent-professional support groups as well peer support groups using digital technologies will help reduce the sense of isolation for rural carers and minimise impediments related to travelling long distances.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Permanent restricted access to Published version due to publisher copyright policy.
Faculty / Department / School: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Linguistics, Adult and Specialist Education
Date Deposited: 14 Nov 2014 00:07
Last Modified: 05 Sep 2017 05:51
Uncontrolled Keywords: Australia; developmental disabilities; information needs; rural; support services
Fields of Research : 16 Studies in Human Society > 1608 Sociology > 160807 Sociological Methodology and Research Methods
16 Studies in Human Society > 1608 Sociology > 160804 Rural Sociology
13 Education > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130312 Special Education and Disability
08 Information and Computing Sciences > 0807 Library and Information Studies > 080709 Social and Community Informatics
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 94 Law, Politics and Community Services > 9401 Community Service (excl. Work) > 940107 Comparative Structure and Development of Community Services
Identification Number or DOI: 10.3109/09638288.2014.972586
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/26378

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