Theorizing Information and Communication Technologies for Parents of Children with Developmental Disabilities

Open Access
Campbell, Louise Marie
Graduate Program:
Information Sciences and Technology
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
June 19, 2009
Committee Members:
  • John Carroll, Thesis Advisor/Co-Advisor
  • information and communication technologies
  • computer-supported cooperative work
  • human-computer interaction
  • developmental disability
Studying the challenges faced by families with children who have developmental disabilities has produced a considerable body of literature. Much of this literature focuses on the families’ needs for information and social support. Recent studies in the social sciences have explored how parents of disabled children use the Internet to fulfill those needs, research which has led to an opportunity for HCI researchers to address this unique domain of users and propose designs for them. This thesis explores an understanding of their needs to better inform the design of tools that are tailored for this group. A scenarios and claims analysis examines strategies for successful design and implementation of such tools. This analysis generates a design framework for online information and communication portals designed for parents of children with special needs. This framework is used to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of three existing web sites and produce recommendations for their improvement.