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Ett barn är oss fött: Att bli förälder när barnet har en funktionsnedsättning - ett beskrivande och tolkande perspektiv
Stockholm University, The Stockholm Institute of Education, Department of Human Development, Learning and Special Education .
Responsible organisation
2007 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
A child has been born unto us : To become a parent when the child is born with a functional impairment - a descriptive and interpretive perspective (English)
Abstract [en]

“A child has been born unto us”, is the most beautiful expression of humankind’s ability to cherish hope and trust for the world, writes Hanna Arendt. She describes how every child’s birth is the beginning of something new, something that the title is intended to emphasise. “Us” in the title also indicates that the child with a functional impairment becomes a public child in a special way.

The purpose of this study is to describe the experience of becoming a parent when the child has a functional impairment. The study is based on a relational perspective. The theoreticians whose ideas have been used are, aside from Arendt, also Buber, Stern and Winnicott. In the analysis of the parental narratives, inspiration was taken from Ricoeur in a hermeneutic phenomenological approach. Encounters are the themes in this thesis, and have been formulated as encounters with the child, the environment and the professionals. 30 parents (19 mothers and 11 fathers) were interviewed about their experiences of parenthood.

The diagnosis of the child’s functional impairment was a chaotic and upsetting situation for the parents. Many strong, different feelings came into play. The parents could feel that they had been “thrown out into space”, and that their future was suddenly taken away from them. The future was what worried them most, and the question that was singled out was “How can we live this life?”

Many professionals became involved in the child’s life, which could be both advantageous and disadvantageous for the family. The professionals’ attitudes and advices had a profound influence on the parents.

Even though the child became in a sense a public child, the parents also had a feeling of having to carry on a struggle for their child in society, a” struggle of love” demanding the consideration of the child’s potential. Another “struggle of love” initially involved the parents’ own attempts to establish a relationship to the child. Thus there were two “struggles of love”.

In their new, hesitant parenthood they had to “find their place in the world” and a way to exist. In their interaction with the child they had two competing figures of mind during the first period, “to be” and “to act”.

The grief the parents had felt for the diagnosis could after a while be separated from the child, and it was the child who helped the parents to handle the grief.

In the thesis the parents’ experiences are discussed, based on questions confronting them. How playing and training are interrelated is also discussed, as well as the significance of narration and the responsibility of the professionals.

These results can be expected to have consequences for special educational work in this field.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: HLS Förlag , 2007. , 267 p.
Studies in educational sciences, ISSN 1400-478X ; 104
Keyword [en]
Hermeneutic phenomenology, relational perspective, parenthood, infant, functional impairment, support, special education
National Category
Research subject
Special Education
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-74072ISBN: 978-91-7656-646-6OAI: diva2:506333
Public defence
2007-12-07, Konradsbergsaulan, Campus Konradsberg, hus K, Rålambsvägen 24-30, Stockholm, 10:00
Available from: 2012-02-28 Created: 2012-02-28 Last updated: 2012-02-28Bibliographically approved

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Lundström, Elisabeth
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