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Vol. 14 No. 2 (2023)

Analysis of the accessibility of perinatal and early childhood services for parents with physical disabilities: A modelled reading of access barriers

July 13, 2023


Perinatal and early childhood services are valuable resources for all new parents, particularly in supporting them as they transition to their new role. However, parents with physical disabilities report several barriers to accessing these services, including difficulty physically accessing services, lack of knowledge or negative attitudes of professionals, and lack of adaptation of services. The objective of this article is to analyse, through the Dixon-Woods et al. accessibility model, the barriers to accessing perinatal and early childhood services from the perspective of parents with physical disabilities. Thirteen semi-structured individual interviews, using the life story approach, were conducted. The results highlight barriers to access to services in all dimensions of the accessibility model. Principal barriers reported include non-inclusive criteria for accessing services (taking account both parenthood and disability), lack of knowledge about the services offered and the inadequacy of services in addressing parents’ needs. The sixth dimension (“offers and resistance”) presents a dynamic element, as it relates to the parents’ decision to use – or not – a service to which they are entitled. Using this model allowed for a pragmatic and systematic description of the obstacles encountered by parents, as well as the identification of needs and potential directions for action.