Facilitating support groups for siblings of children with neurodevelopmental disorders using audioconferencing: a longitudinal feasibility study

Gettings, Sheryl, Franco, Fabia ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1327-1080 and Santosh, Paramala (2015) Facilitating support groups for siblings of children with neurodevelopmental disorders using audioconferencing: a longitudinal feasibility study. Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health, 9 (8) . pp. 1-15. ISSN 1753-2000 [Article] (doi:10.1186/s13034-015-0041-z)

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Background: Siblings of children with chronic illness and disabilities are at increased risk of negative psychological effects. Support groups enable them to access psycho-education and social support. Barriers to this can include the distance they have to travel to meet face-to-face. Audio-conferencing, whereby three or more people can connect by telephone in different locations, is an efficient means of groups meeting and warrants exploration in this healthcare context. This study explored the feasibility of audio-conferencing as a method of facilitating sibling support groups.

Methods: A longitudinal design was adopted. Participants were six siblings (aged eight to thirteen years) and parents of children with complex neurodevelopmental disorders attending the Centre for Interventional Paediatric Psychopharmacology (CIPP). Four of the eight one-hour weekly sessions were held face-to-face and the other four using audio-conferencing. Pre- and post-intervention questionnaires and interviews were completed and three to six
month follow-up interviews were carried out. The sessions were audio-recorded, transcribed and thematic analysis was undertaken.

Results: Audio-conferencing as a form of telemedicine was acceptable to all six participants and was effective in
facilitating sibling support groups. Audio-conferencing can overcome geographical barriers to children being able to receive group therapeutic healthcare interventions such as social support and psycho-education. Psychopathology ratings increased post-intervention in some participants. Siblings reported that communication between siblings and their family members increased and siblings’ social network widened.

Conclusions: Audio-conferencing is an acceptable, feasible and effective method of facilitating sibling support groups. Siblings’ clear accounts of neuropsychiatric symptoms render them reliable informants. Systematic assessment of siblings’ needs and strengthened links between Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, school counsellors and young carers groups are warranted.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Also available through Springer: http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13034-015-0041-z
Keywords (uncontrolled): Sibling, Support group, Behavioural problems, Telemedicine, Young carer, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Chronic illness, Neurodisability, Complex neurodevelopmental disorders
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology > Psychology
Item ID: 15212
Notes on copyright: This is a RoMEO green journal

- Publisher's version/PDF may be used
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Depositing User: Fabia Franco
Date Deposited: 23 Apr 2015 12:28
Last Modified: 07 Feb 2021 17:44
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/15212

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