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PIMENTEL, Júlia Serpa  and  MENERES, Sofia. A longitudinal study of four children with Down syndrome: Analysis of the effects  of maternal adaptation, mother-child interaction, and early forms of support in children development. Psicologia [online]. 2003, vol.17, n.1, pp.81-108. ISSN 0874-2049.

In this paper we present a longitudinal case study involving four dyads with babies with Down syndrome from the end of the first year until the age of seven. We analyse maternal adaptation to the birth and development of their babies, the evolution of mother's expectations concerning the development of their children, mother-child interaction, early support for both the child and the family, and the way in which these aspects of the overall situation relate to the children's development. Our longitudinal study appears to prove that family characteristics and patterns - particularly mother-child interaction and the way in which the mother deals with the stress factors associated with the fact that she has a disabled child - have a decisive effect on children's development. We point out the differences of these dyads in their adaptation process, the different needs of these mothers and the specific and individualised forms of support that should be offered to each of them.

Keywords : Síndroma de Down; adaptação materna; interacção mãe-criança; apoio precoce.

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