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Examining the experience of a mother with multi-disabled children

Hoş, Gülsüm
We live together in society that is composed of individuals who have normal development and individuals who have some developmental delays or disabilities. Therefore, it is important to know and understand what disability is and how it affects the lives of the family members individually also a mother and family as whole. O'Connor (2002) indicates that being a parent of a child who has a developmental delay is a challenge for the parents. This qualitative, mother-focused study examines the experiences of a mother who is rearing multi-disabled children consisting of mental disabilities, a hearing impairment and physical disabilities; and the effects of having more than one child with multi-disability on mother’s psychological well-being. Another objective of the study is to explore how a mother copes with this issue in a family setting and the kind of coping strategies the mother uses to manage the difficulties. Case study design was conducted with the mother of multi-disabled children. Qualitative in-depth interviews are conducted with the mother, and information was gathered in the areas of daily stress, coping, family reactions and well-being. Family Systems Theory provides the theoretical framework of the study. The experience, reaction and communication of the mother with both her disabled children and other family members are examined with the light of the family systems theory in order to understand the interrelation among the family members.