A Narrative Inquiry Exploring the Perceived Challenges in Caring for Developmentally Disabled Individuals: Family Members' Perspectives

A Narrative Inquiry Exploring the Perceived Challenges in Caring for Developmentally Disabled Individuals: Family Members' Perspectives

Author: 
Chukwuemeka Chilaka
Program of study: 
D.H.A.
Abstract: 
The purpose of this narrative inquiry qualitative study was to explore the experiences of direct caregivers in West Texas who are parents of individuals with developmental disabilities, to determine the perceived challenges associated with caring for their loved ones. The qualitative method with a narrative design involved the use of data collected from semi-structured interviews. The data collection was through semi-structured interviews with nine parents who care for a developmentally disabled family member. The results of the analysis of participants’ stories revealed five major themes. The first theme pertained to adequate care education for family members who provide direct care for their disabled loved ones. The second theme related to awareness about and accessibility of resources, such as community and government programs, aimed at providing help for persons with developmental disabilities and their caregivers. The third theme revolved around the financial challenges of caregivers and the need for ongoing financial assistance. The fourth theme pertained to community programs that can help alleviate isolation and frustration faced by the developmentally disabled, the direct care persons, and their caregiving family members. The fifth is the need for more government sponsored programs and structured facilities to accommodate more persons with developmental disabilities. The study resulted in suggestions for future research and recommendations for adequate direct care education; accessible education about resources; additional financial assistance programs; more community involvement and awareness programs; and adequate government programs and sponsored care facilities.
Dedication: 
This is dedicated to my late father who appreciated respect, fairness, cherished good health, and loved the sciences. This is also dedicated to my mother who persevered to help our late father see us through education. This is dedicated to my daughters Nneoma and Okeoma who help me to some extent with typing. Finally, this is dedicated to all direct caregivers of persons with developmental disabilities who provide lasting care for the vulnerable population.
Acknowledgements: 
This is to acknowledge Dr. Ify Diala-Nettles, my dissertation chair and mentor, who helped me with her knowledge, understanding, and support. She was an inspiration to me. I also appreciate my committee members, Dr. Zee Madueke, and Dr. Francis Uzonwanne whose hard work and words of encouragement helped me toward achieving my objective in completing this dissertation. I also thank my sisters and brothers, including their husbands and wives respectively for supporting my plans and efforts to study a course I am very passionate about. Finally, to my friends, and colleagues in the course of my profession, who were equally excited about my educational pursuit and encouraged me with kind words - I say thank you so much.