434 Disability Type and Social Support

Research by Alon, Raaya (2019) 

Written by Robin N. Fatovic B.S.  

Do you feel better when you experience the support of your friends and family during a difficult time? 

An Israeli researcher studied whether a child’s type of disability impacted the amount of perceived social support that the mother received, especially after a difficult time. The researcher also aimed to identify if the type of disability impacted the mothers’ ability to find positive outcomes from these difficult situations. This study focused on the experiences of 100 mothers of children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and 120 mothers of children diagnosed with Down Syndrome.  

Results? Mothers who perceived active social support appreciated the positive aspects of raising a child with a disability, such as social and religious growth. This particularly showed for parents of children with Down Syndrome as opposed to Autism Spectrum Disorder. The author believes that parents of children with autism receive less empathy from others as the disability is “invisible” in not presenting physical characteristics.  

Caregivers having support is essential, especially when their loved one’s disability is not obvious to the public. Remember that anyone might be fighting an invisible battle. Be a positive support!  


Alon, R. (2019). Social support and post-crisis growth among mothers of children with autism spectrum disorder and mothers of children with down syndrome. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 90, 22-30. doi:10.1016/j.ridd.2019.04.010 

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