Family Values, Culture and Disability – Review of Two Articles

Subject: Health Care
Type: Critical Analysis Essay
Pages: 2
Word count: 393
Topics: Autism, Childhood, Health, Tradition
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Pitten, K. (2008). How cultural values influence diagnosis, treatment and the welfare of families with an autistic child. Rivier Academic Journal, 4(1), 1-5

In the first article, Pitten realized that cultural values, particularly the values on religion affected how families perceived disability among their children. Disability often causes the discrimination and stigma of the family unit in the society. Because of the inherent social discrimination and stigma, members of families with disabled children struggle with depression, anger and poor quality of marriages.

Pitten noted that during diagnosis, African-American families believed disabilities like autism were a punishment from God or a result of infidelity on the mother’s part during conception. On the other hand, Latino families perceived the bearing of a disabled child as a test from God. Consequent to the religious beliefs, disabled children in African-American families received poor treatment while Latino families accorded compassionate care to disabled children.

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The article by Pitten demonstrated that religious beliefs practiced in a family setting influenced the appropriateness of care and treatment received by children with disabilities.

Heiman, T. (2014). Children with special needs: The role of the family

The second article by Heiman examined how parents with disabled children coped. Heiman observed that parents with disabled children initially expressed optimism regarding the future of the challenged children. The optimism was a copying mechanism that characterized the way parents with disabled children accepted the tragedy of bearing a child with undesirable attributes. Despite the initial optimism and acceptance, 84.4% of parents with disabled children later developed feelings of sorrow, denial, despair and emotional breakdown. Some parents reported severe physical reactions like constant vomiting, crying, pain and rapid heart rates.

Heiman reported that parents of disabled children turned to supportive services like counseling programs, experimental treatment procedures, and even the special needs educational systems to counteract the adverse reactions to the conditions of their children. Upon accepting the reality of their children’s conditions, families resorted to pursuing any available form of spiritual and professional services intended to elevate the implications of the disability conditions of their children.

The article by Heiman revealed that the negative reactions of parents to their disabled children were tied with the social stigmas attached to disabilities. Most parents perceived the disability in their children as punishment for something they did in their past; hence, the constant feelings of guilt, sorrow, and despair.

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  1. Heiman, T. Children with special needs: The role of the family. E-openu.ac.il. Retrieved from http://www-e.openu.ac.il/geninfor/openletter/ol17/12-14.pdf
  2. Pitten, K. (2008). How cultural values influence diagnosis, treatment and the welfare of families with an autistic child. Rivier Academic Journal, 4(1), 1-5. Retrieved from https://www.rivier.edu/journal/ROAJ-Spring-2008/J130-Pitten.pdf
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