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UBC Theses and Dissertations

An investigation of the experiences and perspectives of immigrant Chinese Canadian mothers of sons with disabilities : parent involvement, coping, and related beliefs and values Lai-Bovenkerk, Yuan

Abstract

This thesis examined the experiences and perspectives of immigrant Chinese Canadian mothers of children with disabilities in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia in the areas of parental involvement in education and coping with parenting stress. In-depth interviewing, supplemented by questionnaires, was utilised to gather data. Ten women, most of whom were newly immigrated, whose school-age sons had various disabilities and who spoke English as a second language, participated in the study. The mothers' acculturation level to Canadian ways of living was generally low. Devotion to the children was at the heart of parent involvement and coping. Inability to speak English fluently posed a major barrier to the involvement of these women in their children's education. It also restricted their ability to seek community resources. These women valued their children's education and worked with them at home. The degree of the mothers' participation in school was generally less than that of their involvement at home. The women made comparisons of education in Canada and that in the Asian countries where they came from, and stated their preferences for qualities possessed by teachers. The mothers expressed some conflicts with the schools, and they mostly tried to avoid confrontation. Self-reliance, self-control, a belief in family support, as well as a belief in fate helped them to cope. Readily available interpreter services and information in Chinese about service agencies serving children with disabilities and their families would be helpful to Chinese Canadian women like them.

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