Seeking Out Social Learning: Online Self-Education in Parents of Children With Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Intellect Dev Disabil. 2022 Aug 1;60(4):303-315. doi: 10.1352/1934-9556-60.4.303.


Supportive, informed parenting is critical to improve outcomes of children who experience intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Parents want to learn about their child's condition, needs, and strategies to improve family life. The internet is a valuable resource, but how parents evaluate and apply information is unknown. We conducted focus groups to understand how parents use internet resources to learn about their children with IDD. Parents described using the internet to access information from trusted sources, find examples to apply their knowledge, and seek social support. Social learning theory, which posits that cognitive, behavioral, and social processes influence each other to support real-world learning, could provide a theoretical framework for unifying these findings and for designing efficacious online interventions.

Keywords: internet; online; parent; qualitative; social learning.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Developmental Disabilities
  • Humans
  • Intellectual Disability*
  • Parenting
  • Parents / psychology
  • Social Learning*