“There are not enough hours in a day to do everything”: Parents’ descriptions of everyday life with a child with severe physical disability

2019 IJRSE – Volume 8 Issue 1


Häyrynen, Eija
Valteri Centre for Learning and Consulting, Finland (eija.hayrynen@valteri.fi)

Määttä, Kaarina
University of Lapland, Finland (Kaarina.Maatta@ulapland.fi)

Äärelä, Tanja
University of Lapland, Finland (Tanja.Aarela@ulapland.fi)

Uusiautti, Satu*
University of Lapland, Finland (Satu.Uusiautti@ulapland.fi)


Life in families with a child with a severe physical disability is filled with various demands and needs for extraordinary solutions. The purpose of this research was to investigate how parents describe their everyday life, coping, and solutions regarding parenting. The research question set for this study was “How do the parents of a child with severe physical disability describe their everyday life?” The research participants were the parents of 120 students with severe physical disability participating the remedial courses at Tervaväylä Special Education School in Oulu, Finland. Their parents described their everyday challenges and joys openly which are introduced as findings in this article. Parents’ work, societal demands, and the child’s special needs together are burdening and creating a daily structure that is functional requires time and effort from parents. Ability to be flexible and trust in positive development in the child and multi-professional collaboration are the keys to coping. In addition, parents emphasized the ability to find joy from small successes and steps in their child’s progress.

Keywords: parenthood; severe physical disability; home; upbringing; special needs; everyday life


DOI: https://doi.org/10.5861/ijrse.2018.3008

*Corresponding Author