Working relationally to promote user participation in welfare services for young disabled children and their families in Iceland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Despite the avowed aims of the Icelandic legislation to provide family-centred and inclusive services, families raising disabled children commonly express their experiences of fragmented services provided more on the terms of the service providers than the users. This article is based on data derived from an on-going qualitative multi case-research in three municipalities in Iceland. The aims of the paper are 1) to identify the main contradictions that explain tensions and dilemmas within the service system as experienced by the parents, and 2) to suggest potential solutions for improving practices in accordance with family-centred inclusive policy and enhanced user participation. The cultural-historical activity theory was applied as an analytical framework. Three activities central to the wellbeing of the children and their families were identified as the unit of analysis, and contradictions within the activities were located and classified by following the expansive learning theory. Based on our findings we propose Edwards’s three ‘gardening tools’ of relational practices as innovative and appropriate concepts for the necessary changes needed. By utilising these tools, the disabled children and their families are brought to the forefront and the professionals enhance their expertise in partnership with all stakeholders.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-46
JournalNordisk välfärdsforskning | Nordic Welfare Research
Volume3
Issue number01
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jun 2018

Other keywords

  • Disabled children
  • Family-centred services
  • Preschools
  • Relational practices
  • Service development
  • Cultural-historical activity theory
  • Fatlaðir
  • Börn
  • Fjölskyldumeðferð

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