Olsson, Elgmark Andersson, Granlund & Huus (2015): Social service utilisation patterns among children with mild intellectual disability – differences between children integrated into mainstream classes and children in self-contained classes
I: European Journal of Special Needs Education, online first
Lena M. Olsson, Elisabeth Elgmark Andersson, Mats Granlund & Karina Huus
Background. Children with a mild intellectual disability (ID) and their families often require social services; however, because of the characteristics of the formal service system, these families may be at risk of not receiving necessary services. The aim of this study was to obtain knowledge regarding the types and number of services that families receive from social services because of the child’s disability and because of social problems. Another aim was to acquire knowledge regarding the percentage of families receiving services and to evaluate the received services in relation to the child’s gender, school setting and age. Method. Utilisation of social services among 84 children with a mild ID and their families in two municipalities in Sweden was examined using existing social services records. Results. Approximately one-third of the families received services because of the child’s disability and one-fourth because of social problems. Children integrated into mainstream classes were significantly less likely to receive services from social services because of their disability than children in self-contained classes. The most commonly utilised services because of the child’s disability were companion service, short period of supervision for schoolchildren and special transportation services. The services most utilised because of social problems were help from a personal contact, a contact family for the child’s siblings and financial assistance for the child’s parents. Conclusions. Social services must engage in outreach activities, especially in schools, so that families having a child with mild ID are recognised and receive necessary services.