Families of Children with Developmental Disabilities: Assessment and Comparison of Self-Reported Needs in Relation to Situational Variables

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Parents of children with a developmental disability completed a survey that sampled self-reported needs (information, support, giving explanations to others, community services, finances, and family functioning) in relation to situational variables, such as age (child and parents), type of educational service received by the child, number of siblings, marital status of parents, family income, parents' level of education, and the family's participation in support services. Families of younger children were found to have the greatest overall needs. Increased number of hours per week of employment by fathers was associated with reduced needs. There also was less reported need by families who had a child enrolled in a residential-care setting. These findings extend the assessment of family needs to a population and age of children not addressed in previous research. Recommendations for the types of professional services that should be offered to families on the basis of an assessment of need are presented and discussed.