Immigrant Youths with Disabilities and Caregivers from the Middle-East—Challenges and Needs During Transition to Adulthood

E. Björquist, E. Nordmark, N. A. Almasri, I. Hallström


Background: Recent years of research have increased the knowledge about how to support the transition to adulthood for youths with disabilities. In today’s multi-cultural societies knowledge about transitioning immigrant youths and their caregivers is still needed.

Objective: To describe the expectations and needs of immigrant youths with disabilities residing in Sweden during their transition into adulthood as well as the expectations and needs of their caregivers, all of whom come from Arabic-speaking countries.

Method: Structured interviews based on the Rotterdam Transition Profile (RTP) questionnaire were conducted with youths 16 to 24 years of age and with caregivers based on the Family Needs Survey (FNS).

Results: Findings of interest were the youths´ dependence on parents for care demands and leisure activities, their need for information regarding future care and support and their concerns regarding future marriage. Caregivers’ felt unfamiliar with the term ‘intellectual disability’ and had a need for information about their youths’ condition and of available service for their children now and in the future.

Conclusion: To prepare immigrant youths for future support, health care and habilitation services, it is important to enhance their autonomy. Immigrant families need culturally sensitive support and information, provided by designated professionals in their language of preference during the youths’ transition to adulthood.

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