Light at the End of the Tunnel: Experiences of Hope among Parents of Children with Neurodevelopmental Diagnoses

Sacha Bailey, MSW, PhD(c)

Historically, scholarship in the area of pediatric disability has tended to portray families who have a child with a disability as stressed and overburdened. However, in considering the question of why many families thrive in the face of challenges, researchers have turned to considering what makes parents who have children with disabilities resilient. Emerging research over the past decade has found that hope is a potential protective factor and may be a sign of resilience. For instance, hope has been identified among a host of other human strengths, such as optimism, courage, and perseverance, as a buffer against mental illness. Although the field of pediatric disability has only recently begun to explore the concept of hope and its role in the lives of families, many parents know inherently that hope matters. This presentation will offer an overview of findings from recent research relating to the role of hope for parents and families, including findings emerging from the presenter’s doctoral thesis and will propose ways in which clinical practice can be informed and inspired by these insights.