NUI Galway is seeking parents of children with non-physical disabilities to volunteer for a study.

Researchers at the university are seeking to understand the effects on families caring for children with such disabilities.

In total 200 couples and 1,000 individual parents are being sought to participate in the online study, which is taking place in Ireland, the US and UK from now until April.

In particular, parents whose children have an intellectual disability, Autism Spectrum Disorder, or genetic disorders such as Fragile X, Down Syndrome or Angelman Syndrome are being asked to volunteer.

The research is being led by Dr Kristen Maglieri and Professor Brian Hughes from the School of Psychology at NUI Galway.

"Most of the previous research on these stresses on families has focused on how individual parents cope, and the vast majority of the respondents have been mums," said Dr Maglieri.

"To us, it just seemed like there was a big piece of the puzzle missing. We need to understand how dads cope and also how mums and dads cope together in a family system."

Dr Maglieri said it was clear families of children with disabilities face significant challenges, but that these families do not all experience the same level of stress. 

The study aims to establish what makes the difference.

The online questionnaire is available at surveymonkey.com/r/parentcoping and takes 30 minutes to complete. 

Parents can also request a paper copy of the survey.

Each parent independently completes the questionnaire. 

One parent can participate, even if their partner does not wish to do so.

This study is for parents who have children or adult children living at home with non-physical disabilities.

Further information is available from Dr Maglieri at parentcopingstudy@gmail.com.