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08-09-2015 | Original Paper | Uitgave 4/2016

Journal of Child and Family Studies 4/2016

Parenting Children with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities in Asian Indian Families in the United States

Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 4/2016
Anusha Natarajan Zechella, Vaishali V. Raval


Asian Indian immigrant parents of children with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) have unique experiences and challenges grounded within their cultural contexts and migration to United States. This study sought to describe these experiences using qualitative method. Open-ended interviews were individually conducted with 15 Asian Indian parents (8 mothers, 7 fathers) whose children were diagnosed with Down Syndrome, Autistic Disorder, or Pervasive Developmental Disorder- Not Otherwise Specified. Qualitative analysis generated 16 themes that were grouped into five domains: Cultural explanations, community response, and migration; impact on the self and family; sources of stress and support; a unique parenting approach; and hopes and fears for the future. In particular, parents described their local community’s initial struggles with acceptance of IDD grounded within religious explanations of the disability. Similar to parents of children with IDD from other cultural groups, these parents described family support, broader social awareness and acceptance, and access to resources as sources of support and the lack of these factors as contributing to stress. A unique parenting approach emerged in reference to the child with IDD that included adjusting academic aspirations for the child, taking a practical, “1 day at a time” approach, and efforts to pass on cultural heritage. Parents voiced concerns about the future care of their child when they would not be around, as well as their hopes. These findings suggest the importance of attending to cultural meanings and local contexts when understanding parenting experiences.

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