Validity and reliability of the Japanese version of the family needs survey
Early intervention and disability services in Japan historically have focused on supporting the individual with a disability, with only secondary attention to family needs and priorities. Since the Basic Law for Persons with Disabilities was codified in 2011, the Japanese government has been responsible for supporting families with members who have disabilities. To assess the needs of these families, we evaluated the reliability and validity of the Family Needs Survey (FNS), initially developed in 1988 (Bailey & Simeonsson), to determine its usefulness for programs providing services for Japanese families who have a child with a disability. The FNS is a practical tool to assess family needs and is already used across many different cultures and populations. To evaluate the reliability and validity of the FNS, we conducted an anonymous survey with a self-administered questionnaire at 6 treatment and education institutions, 3 medical institutions mainly for children with disabilities, and 39 special needs schools in the Osaka area. We analyzed 1171 parents’ survey responses: 452 fathers and 719 mothers of children with disabilities aged 0–15 years old who answered all items on the Japanese version of the FNS. Another survey was administered to 130 specialists who work with children with disabilities to assess the content validity of the Japanese version of the FNS. We verified the factor structure, content validity, and reliability of the Japanese version of the FNS as an assessment tool with 34 items among four factors that were based on the same items in the original FNS. The assessment could be used for families with school-age children as well as younger children, in contrast to the original version, which is not appropriate for school-age children. We also confirmed that it could be used without regard to type or degree of disability.