Parents’ management of the development of their children with disabilities: Incongruence between psychological development and culture
Keywords:Disability, Vygotsky, culture, families, deafblindness
Being the parent of a disabled child is not easy, it is experienced as a situation marked by stress,
crises and grief. As Vygotsky described eighty years ago, the development of children with
disabilities and the culture do not fit as they do for non-disabled children. The development of a
child with disabilities is not determined by the child’s physical defect alone, but constituted by the
incongruence between the physical defect and the culture. In this study, the lives of four families
with deafblind children were followed for two years. Interviews and observations were conducted
in different settings. This study finds that because of the incongruence between the physical defect
and the culture, it is difficult to reach and maintain the zone of proximal development for a child
with disabilities. This study illustrates how the network of professionals and parents around the
child can make a local congruence that creates a platform for the child’s development.
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