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Ayelet Gur, Leena Gnaeem-Badran & Michael Ashley Stein, The Role of Grandparents in Israeli Muslim Families with Intellectually Disabled Fathers: Social Workers' Perspectives, 66 Soc. Work 139 (2021).

Abstract: Within Israeli Muslim society, men with intellectual disabilities are likely to marry nondisabled women through arranged marriages and create families. This article explores the role of grandparents with these families from the perspective of each family’s social worker. A thematic analysis was conducted of 19 semistructured interviews with Muslim social workers serving Muslim families with intellectually disabled fathers. Consistent with cultural norms, paternal grandparents are extremely involved in the lives of these couples and hold responsibilities in many aspects of these couples’ family lives. Social workers reported that the nondisabled wives, however, viewed the engagement as intrusive and controlling. Maternal grandparents’ contributions were crucially supportive, albeit limited by Muslim cultural norms that placed households under paternal family control. Social workers had conflicted feelings regarding paternal grandparent involvement. Social workers working with Muslim fathers with intellectual disabilities should promote supportive paternal grandparent involvement and ensure that such engagement does not undermine the autonomy or well-being of the nondisabled mothers. Practice guidelines are presented.