Korean American mothers of children with disabilities : adaptation process and positive transformation Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/5x21tj722

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  • This study examined the experiences of five Korean American mothers in Oregon and California who have children with disabilities using qualitative research analysis. The mothers' adaptation processes were individually analyzed, and these mothers' overarching experiences were discussed with three major themes: (a) caring for family cohesiveness, (b) needs for social and professional support, and (c) positive transformation of life through religion Adaptation to the children's disabilities was a process for these participants. All mothers had their own demands, resources, and subjective interpretations of their situations. Analysis of the qualitative data disclosed that these five Korean American mothers transformed the negative life events of having children with disabilities into meaningful opportunities to grow personally and spiritually. These immigrant mothers' care-commitment for their families' cohesiveness strengthened their life long coping process. Several married mothers perceived emotional support from their husbands. Most of the mothers expressed the need for social support due to their immigrant status. These five Korean American mothers tried to adapt to their situation of raising a child with a disability within their intact family members. Two mothers from California utilized emotional and informational support from Korean parent support groups, which are more readily available in that state due to the large number of Korean American families with children with disabilities. Despite the lack of social and professional support, many of the mothers perceived their experiences of having children with disabilities positively through their religious beliefs. Raising a child with a disability reportedly strengthened the mothers' religious faith, and their strong religious beliefs gave them courage to successfully adapt to their situations. Several of the mothers stated that their worldviews were also changed. Although this study was limited to five participants, it yielded an enhanced understanding of Korean American mothers who have children with disabilities and provided direction for future research and practice. The findings suggest that special education providers should emphasize and support the strengths of a child's major caregiver.
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