Table of Contents
The current descriptive research design aimed to investigate accessibility of services and families’ practice in upbringing children with disabilities in Arsi Zone (Ethiopia). Fifteen purposely selected families of children with disabilities participated in the interviews in addition to three focus group discussions. A qualitative research design was employed. Three central themes emerged from the data, namely; the process of rearing children with disabilities, social support, and families’ future concerns. Findings showed that mothers are the main caregivers of their children. Although fathers were engaged in nurturing, they were limited by time constraints due to work schedules. The study also indicated that especially families who have children with intellectual disabilities identify their child’s problems lately, after they enter formal school. Parents have tried traditional and modern treatments as solutions to their children’s problems and the contribution of extended family members in sharing the burden of parents was very limited. Early identification of children with disabilities and planned intervention services were not available, and families were dissatisfied with the lack of information that they received from professionals. They also indicated their strong need for vocational training for their children. Recommendations for practice and directions for future research are discussed.
Keywords: Disability, casual observation, formal school, extended family, upbringing, Ethiopia