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Perceived Stigmatization of Children with Speech-Language Impairment and Their ParentsMacharey G. · von Suchodoletz W.
Department of Developmental Disorders, Clinic of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Psychosomatics and Psychotherapy, Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich, Germany Corresponding Author
Prof. Dr. med. Waldemar von Suchodoletz
Waltherstrasse 23, DE–80337 München (Germany)
Tel. +49 89 4522 9030, Fax +49 89 5160 5942
Objective: Developmental disorders in childhood are generally assumed to have stigmatizing effects. The goal of the present study was to assess whether parents of children with speech-language impairment perceive stigmatization of their child or themselves and which variables influence the degree of negative labeling. Subjects and Methods: The study was based on 362 questionnaires completed by parents of children with speech-language impairment. The questionnaires concerned perceived stigmatization by other children, other adults and family members as a result of the child’s developmental problems. Results: In our sample, about 50% of the parents reported negative labeling of their child and about 30% felt they were involved in the stigmatizing process. Parents whose children also had behavioral problems more often reported negative labeling than parents whose children did not. Conclusion: The findings suggest that parents of children with speech-language disorders often perceive stigmatization of their children or themselves. In counseling such families, professionals should therefore address stigmatization and its consequences as a separate and important issue.
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