Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.


Social Work

Degree Program

Social Work, PhD

Committee Chair

Sar, Bibhuti

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Lawson, Thomas

Committee Member

Lawson, Thomas

Committee Member

Perry, Armon

Committee Member

Albrithen, Abdulaziz

Committee Member

Sossou, Marie Antoinette

Author's Keywords

social work; families needs; children with multiple disabilities; Saudi Arabia; children with disabilities; educational, financial, and social needs


Studies on the needs of families of children with multiple disabilities are few and limited, and none of these studies have been conducted in the Arab world, in general, nor in Saudi Arabia, in particular. Even though many families suffer from problems that affect their needs and the needs of their children with disabilities, social work research in the Arab world have not focused on the families and their needs. The information collected from such research can help in developing new and superior services to help children with multiple disabilities and their families. Thus, the present study will contribute to a better understanding of the needs of families of children with multiple disabilities and will help to fill the gap in the literature. The purpose of this dissertation was to identify the families’ educational, financial, and social needs, and to explore the differences in needs among families based on the parents' demographic information (i.e., educational backgrounds and financial status) and the children's characteristics (i.e., type of disability, gender of the child). Using a questionnaire, the data for this study were collected between May 2016 and September 2016 from 196 fathers and mothers (98 couples) of children with multiple disabilities (male and female, between 5 and 18 years of age) enrolled in multiple-disability programs from 10 institutes each supervised through the Ministry of Education in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The data were analyzed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (IBM SPSS-22). Descriptive statistics were used to ascertain the sample description. In addition, one-way ANOVA and two-way ANOVA were used for answer research questions. Generally, parents reported that families' needs are still falling short of being fulfilled in Saudi Arabia. Moreover, there was a significant difference between parents' gender regarding social needs; mothers reported a stronger need for social support than did fathers. Thus, the results suggest that the perceived social needs of the mothers are more important to them than the perceived education and financial needs. Moreover, the educational needs based on the parent's level of education was significant with the mothers who had high school diploma. The financial needs based on the interaction between parents' gender and child's gender was significant in favor of fathers with female children. Finally, the educational needs based on a child's type of disability was significant for both parents when the child had both deafness and another type of disability. This exploratory research study served to extend research related to social work with families, social work with special groups, as well as provide further support for this specialized field of social work practice.

Included in

Social Work Commons