Access Type

Dissertation/Thesis

Date of Award

January 2019

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Department

Special Education

First Advisor

Susan Gable

Abstract

This narrative research examines the experiences of five Saudi Arabian mothers of children with ASD who are living in the United States. Multiple interviews were used in qualitative research to learn more about the different experiences of these mothers. The purpose of the study was to learn about the participants’ experiences, including their stressors, beliefs, and thoughts about raising their children with ASD in a culture that is different from the one where they were raised.

Culture can shape mothers' attitudes and beliefs about raising children with disabilities. Saudi Arabian mothers living abroad are likely to observe different ways of mothering, and they may be exposed to new ways of thinking about mothering. When a Saudi Arabian mother of a child with ASD lives in a developed country like the United States, she may enjoy opportunities to live her experiences far from her extended family, with whom she may or may not have conflicts. She may also learn about resources that can foster her child’s development. Living abroad means exposure to other people and other ways of thinking, which can lead to personal growth and change.

The most significant finding from these mothers was the comparison between the educational and the medical sectors in the United States and Saudi Arabia. All of the mothers hope that the services in both sectors will improve to help people with disabilities. This study has implications for educators, doctors, and communities. Future research is needed to study the experiences of Saudi Arabian mothers of children with ASD who are living in Saudi Arabia.

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