Original Research

Family perceptions of intellectual disability: Understanding and support in Dar es Salaam

Heather M. Aldersey
African Journal of Disability | Vol 1, No 1 | a32 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ajod.v1i1.32 | © 2012 Heather M. Aldersey | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 01 May 2012 | Published: 04 October 2012

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Heather M. Aldersey, University of Kansas Beach Center on Disability, University of Kansas, Lawrence, United States

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When attempting to understand the construct of intellectual disability in different contexts, speaking to family members in addition to the individual with the disability may provide new insight about understandings of and responses to intellectual disability in society and may help to identify the forms of support that are available or needed to ensure the quality of life of people with disabilities. This article outlines and discusses interviews that were conducted in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, with family members of children and adults with intellectual disabilities. These interviews explore how families came to understand that their child had an intellectual disability; the availability of family support; and family hopes and dreams for the future, and were a part of a wider exploratory study that gathered insight from individuals with disabilities, families, and other providers of support to explore understandings and perceptions of disability in Dar es Salaam. Understanding family experiences will help researchers, policy makers, non-governmental organisations, and others to identify family strengths and family support needs which can ultimately improve family quality of life and the quality of life of the member with a disability.


Disability support; carer and parent effects; improving quality of life


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