Listen to Emma's mother talk about what Emma likes.
What might you implement in this school to improve Emma's Quality of Life?
Though proxy respondents are often used there are a number of problems. The most obvious problem is that the adults may have a different view from that of the child. For example, caregivers have been shown to be unduly optimistic about the Quality of Life of adults with learning difficulties in regard to self determinism and social inclusion (Rapley et al 1997).
Another issue is that a child with a disability may value different things from an adult. For example, children on the ASC may have very different views on the nature and importance of friendships in terms of a good Quality of Life
This is not an argument against the use of proxy respondents but rather one that counsels the importance of cautious interpretation (Stancliffe 1999). One way forward may be to undertake a triangulation of caregivers.
For example, parents' and teachers' views can be independently sought and then compared. Similar interpretations by different adults of a particular child's interests would give greater confidence in the validity of the judgement. What might be particularly useful is to find out why adults have different views about what a particular child likes or is good at.
Exploring these differences may well yield completely new ways of understanding how each child is different at home and in school. Such differences indicate areas of potential development.
In this clip of Sophie, notice how various disagreements lead to new opportunities for development.
Consider a situation where you have had a disagreement between yourself and your colleagues about what a particular child likes and what s/he can achieve.
- How do you explain these differences?
- Do they indicate areas where the child's context/environment might be affecting their Quality of Life?
- What can you do to address it?
Rapley, M., Ridgeway, J. and Beyer, S. (1997) Staff:staff and staff:client reliability of the Schalock and Keith (1993) Quality of Life Questionnaire. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 42, 37-42.
Stancliffe, R. (1999) Proxy respondents and the reliability of the QOL-Q Empowerment factor. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 43, 185-93.