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01-04-2015 | Original Paper | Uitgave 12/2015

Journal of Child and Family Studies 12/2015

Embracing Each Other and Growing Together: Redefining the Meaning of Caregiving a Child with Disabilities

Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 12/2015
Yoon-Joo Lee, Hye Jun Park, Susan L. Recchia


The present study examined the dynamic and complex nature of raising children with disabilities focusing on the processes that mothers went through as they came to embrace their children within their family life context over time. Narratives of parenting experiences were obtained via in-depth interviews of eleven mothers whose children were at different ages, ranging from 6 to 35. Their narratives showed that the process of embracing the child’s disability is gradual. Many mothers in this study were fully aware of their children’s limitations but at the same time, looking for better ways to support them. As mothers mature in their roles as caregivers and are able to transform their perspectives through a deliberate reflective process, their children can also become partners with their mothers and self-advocates who seek to take charge of their own lives in the midst of life challenges. The findings in this study pointed to the importance of a process-oriented approach with a strength-based focus while considering contextually rich family dynamics and how they change over time.

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