A clinical investigation of the role of family functioning in childhood learning disorders

 

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dc.contributor.advisor Saayman, Graham en_ZA
dc.contributor.author Madden, Alison Mary en_ZA
dc.date.accessioned 2016-02-01T10:01:13Z
dc.date.available 2016-02-01T10:01:13Z
dc.date.issued 1984 en_ZA
dc.identifier.citation Madden, A. 1984. A clinical investigation of the role of family functioning in childhood learning disorders. University of Cape Town. en_ZA
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/11427/16630
dc.description Bibliography: pages 206-217. en_ZA
dc.description.abstract The lack of clarity both of definition and of aetiology of the Learning Disability Syndrome prompted this clinical research. The family unit served as the focal point of analysis and various aspects of family functioning were investigated in order to trace the role of the family in the manifestation of this controversial childhood disorder. The interrelationships between family interaction and the cognitive, affective and personality characteristics of learning disabled children were analysed extensively. The family was regarded as the microsystem of an educo-political society which in turn forms part of history. Forty-two families in which a learning disabled child was present were compared with a control sample of thirty non-learning disabled families. A total of sixty variables was identified in each group and the resulting profiles were analysed statistically by means of a multi-variate analysis and one-way analyses of variance. The results indicated that there were significant differences between the two groups in areas of family functioning and that numerous correlations emerged in the learning disabled sample between these family characteristics and aspects of the learning disabled child. In contrast to this, the control sample revealed very few significant correlations in any of the areas and there was clearly little carry-over between the areas of family interaction and the children under discussion. In the learning disabled families the interaction was characterised by inadequate decision-making, a lack of consistent structure in the home and an unsettled emotional climate. The spouse dyad emerged as playing the dominant role in these areas of family functioning, with the mother linked to the poor problem-solving and the father being associated with the vacillating family structure. Marital upheaval was strongly connected to the emotional imbalance in the family, which was linked to a tendency toward explosive anger, little communication of happiness and misdirected sadness. In addition, many of the mothers worked and this fact appeared to be related to the inadequacies in family interaction. Closely associated with these family characteristics were the affective and cognitive areas of the learning disabled child. The quality of the family interaction appeared to be reflected specifically in his anxiety, his limited coping mechanisms, his lack of inner control, his labile emotional structure, his poor community interaction, his inability to analyse and synthesize problem-situations and in his dysfunctioned non-verbal cognitive skills. These aspects of the learning disabled child form a large proportion of the symptomology of the syndrome and suggest that the child has become the product of inadequate family functioning. His limited awareness of responsibility and purpose, his inability to deal with abstract and unknown tasks effectively, his fluctuating attention span, his heightened emotional responsiveness were all interrelated with the inadequate application of cognitive principles. In fact, the Learning Disability Syndrome might be the combination of emotional and cognitive aspects of the child in response to an unsettled family and societal environment. The implications of these findings point to the significance of the contextual setting of the family with the emphasis on the quality of reciprocal interaction between the members of the unit. Cause and effect are so closely interwoven with a markedly high incidence of the ripple-effect in these families. An element of self-perpetuation was also present due to the families tending to focus attention on the child exclusively while maintaining the same form of behavioural interaction. Treatment should be aimed at early prevention and intervention should take place at the level of aetiology - which appears to be the family. Detailed clinical assessments of families are necessary and the actual development of certain patterns of interaction within the unit where a child is at risk should be traced. The fallibility of Intelligence tests should be noted and the criteria for intelligence should pertain directly to the needs of society. en_ZA
dc.language.iso eng en_ZA
dc.subject.other Psychology en_ZA
dc.subject.other Clinical Psychology en_ZA
dc.title A clinical investigation of the role of family functioning in childhood learning disorders en_ZA
dc.type Thesis / Dissertation en_ZA
uct.type.publication Research en_ZA
uct.type.resource Thesis en_ZA
dc.publisher.institution University of Cape Town
dc.publisher.faculty Faculty of Humanities en_ZA
dc.publisher.department Department of Psychology en_ZA
dc.type.qualificationlevel Doctoral en_ZA
dc.type.qualificationname PhD en_ZA
uct.type.filetype Text
uct.type.filetype Image


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