Date of Conferral

2019

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Social Work

Advisor

Jeanna M. Jacobsen

Abstract

Parents with children with special needs experience challenges when caring for their children. These challenges may be uniquely affected by the parent’s employment. Because social workers are in professional roles, understanding their lived experiences provides awareness of the needed services and resources that help social workers maintain effectiveness in their home and work life. This phenomenological study explored the lived experiences of social workers who have children with special needs. Bronfenbrenner’s ecological theory guided this study. Criterion and snowball sampling were used to recruit 8 participants. Data were gathered through 3 in-depth semistructured interviews. Moustakas phenomenology method was used to analyze data. Two themes emerged from the data (a) coming to terms with having a child with special needs and (b) balance of home and work life. Sub-themes included (a) self-care, (b) supervision, and (c) having an awareness of resources. Part of the experience included social work parents recognizing, understanding, and accepting that their child has a special need. Balancing home and work life was an important aspect for the participants. Part of balancing home and work life for these participants was ensuring the use of self-care methods, adequate supervision, and being aware of resources to mitigate their stressors related to their child’s special need. The findings may be used to create positive social change by informing administrators, specialists, counselors, and the profession of social work about areas of focus for strategies and interventions to address the needs of social workers parenting children with special needs.

Included in

Social Work Commons

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