Exploring father engagement with disability services

Ronan Cunningham is completing a doctorate in Educational and Child Psychology at Mary Immaculate College, Limerick. They are conducting this research in order to complete a dissertation as part of the requirements for the Doctorate in Educational and Child Psychology.

The aim of this research project is to explore father engagement with disability services in Ireland. Interest in this topic has grown from the well-supported finding that fathers of children with disabilities are a challenging population for disability services and healthcare providers to engage. Previous research shows that mothers are often regarded as the primary parent and caregiver in the clinical relationship.

This has resulted in fathers being cast in a secondary or periphery role by clinicians, which seems to impact father engagement patterns with services. In this exploratory research project, the perceptions and experiences of fathers of children with an intellectual disability/developmental delay on their engagement with disability services will be sought. This will be done to try and better understand this complex relationship with the ultimate aim of informing policy, improving services and maximising family-centred practice.

 

WHAT ARE THE POSSIBLE BENEFITS AND RISKS OF TAKING PART?

If you decide to participate in this pilot, you will be providing valuable knowledge and insight about your experiences of engaging with disability services. As a father of a child with an intellectual disability, you are in a unique position to provide insight on this matter.

Research in the past has shown that fathers of children with an intellectual disability are not as involved as mothers in the clinical relationship with disability services. This could be explained by many different factors and this study seeks to explore the relationship between fathers and disability services to gain a deeper understanding of this relationship. There has been a lack of research conducted exploring this relationship and gaining your perspective in this project could be very helpful in getting a better understanding of this interaction.

While there are no obvious risks associated with participating in this study, at any time if you no longer wish to participate, you can withdraw from the study without any consequences. Your participation is completely voluntary.

 

WHAT WILL TAKING PART INVOLVE?

Taking part will involve the completion of a 10-minute online survey.

If fathers wish to take part in a follow-up interview, the option to provide their contact details is provided in the survey.

 

WILL TAKING PART BE CONFIDENTIAL?

Yes. The names or any distinguishable information of those who take part in this pilot study will not be reported or shared in the study. Any distinguishable or non-anonymised data (e.g. consent forms) will be stored on an encrypted USB and a password-protected file on the laptop of the researcher.

 

WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO THE RESULTS OF THE STUDY?

The results of the study will be used for academic purposes in the submission of my dissertation. Depending on the significance of the results of the study, my dissertation may be put forward for publication in an academic journal and/or presented at a conference.

 

WHO SHOULD YOU CONTACT FOR FURTHER INFORMATION?

Please feel free to contact Ronan at any time before, during or after participation. You can reach them by email at 19280262@micstudent.mic.ul.ie or by phone at 0831696937. You can also contact their research supervisor Dr. Margaret Farrelly by email at Margaret.farrelly@mic.ul.ie.

If you have any concerns about this study and wish to contact an independent administrator, you may contact:

MIREC Administrator

Research and Graduate School

Mary Immaculate College

South Circular Road

Limerick

Telephone: 061 204980 or Email: mirec@mic.ul.ie