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Fall 2010

Julia Rubin, Clark University, F10: The Stigma of Disabilities: How it Affects the Parents of Children with Disabilities

     Through the collaboration with members of Fundación Cuidado Infantil Dominicano (FCID) and members of the communities in which they work, the following research was conducted about the rehabilitation program for children with disabilities.  The proposal was to understand the community’s perception of disabled children and how this perception affects families, particularly parents.  The results of the parents’ questionnaire show a need for more awareness, acceptance and resources in the community.  The questionnaires also show gender inequality in families that are part of the program.  On the other hand, they show that these challenges do not prevent parents from caring for their children with positive attitudes.  Parents may be more positive as a result of the support and therapy they receive from FCID.  The recommendations utilize the pride that the parents have for their children, and their confidence in their abilities as parents, to fight to change each community’s stigma of disabilities.  They include: the distribution of brochures with basic information about disabilities, conversations with teachers about individual children’s needs and lectures in communities about the misconceptions of disabilities.

 Amanda Doyle, University of Richmond, F10: Niños con una Esperanza:  Information Technology and the Triangular Support of Teacher-Facilitator-Parent

     In the marginalized neighborhood of Cienfuegos, Santiago, Dominican Republic, a large population of students in elementary school do not know how to utilize basic resources like encyclopedias, dictionaries or the internet and therefore are not completing the homework assigned to them.  This research explores the gaps between the teachers; facilitators and parents of the children at Niños con una Esperanza, and explain how these vacancies affect the academic life of the students.  The primary objectives of the study were: to determine the available resources at Niños con una Esperanza, discover the expectations of teachers, to investigate ways to improve the access to resources, and to find ways to facilitate better communication between the teachers, the organization and the parents.  This report is exploratory research that utilizes questionnaires, interviews and personal observations with teachers, facilitators and the directors of Niños con una Esperanza.  The results of the questionnaires show that teachers are unaware of the resources to which they have access and the students are expected to use resources they do not have; neither have they been taught how to use them. The research concludes that the students are assigned homework that neither parents nor facilitators understand how to complete, even though they are interested in helping.  The main recommendations include: improving the communication between teachers, facilitators and parents, through a created homework book; and utilizing the resources that are available in Cienfuegos. 

 Mike Gerson, Dickinson College F10: Changing Knowledge and Behavior: A study to reduce the levels of Hypertension through social action in the community of Camboya

    The neighborhood of Camboya in Zona Sur, Santiago, has the highest levels of hypertension (and the lowest instances of medical visits) of the three communities served by the nearest clinic—Unidad  de Atención Primaria (UNAP).  This study researches the causes of the high levels of hypertension between September and November of 2010.  The objective of this research was to lower the amount of hypertension in the community by 1) identifying the healthy habits of the community 2) identifying the unhealthy habits of the community, and 3) measuring interest in a hypertension group in order to increase healthy living habits of the community.  The results of this research show that risky behavior and lack of information in the community contribute to the high amounts of hypertension.  Community members with hypertension and without showed similar results.  However, the only significant difference was age, which was shown to independently predict hypertension.  Having more than three children (for women) or having a difficult economic situation causing chronic stress were also high risk factors.  For those diagnosed with the disease, the economic burden of hypertension may cause more stress resulting in a less healthy lifestyle.  Furthermore, the results show that the community has a strong desire for a hypertension group and are motivated to participate in it. 

    This research recommends the creation a hypertension group, a healthy living group, and a prevention campaign to identify and help the vulnerable population (including men between the ages of 38 and 44, women between the ages of 45 and 54 and women with more than three children).  The hypertension group should weigh and take the blood pressure of people, begin support groups and have neighborhood walks.  The healthy living group should expand its services to include the treatment of other sicknesses and activities to empower the community.  Finally, UNAP should interview their communities and incorporate its interests and activities in the health groups.  


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