Abstract

Forty-five parents of children with autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, and sickle cell disease participated in 8 focus groups. Parents discussed how they, the child with the disability, and the siblings addressed community perceptions about the child's disability. Themes evolving from the interviews included (a) support and lack of support, (b) inclusion and exclusion, and (c) the family members' roles during their interactions with the community. Parents viewed their roles in the community as (a) advocating, (b) educating, (c) informing, (d) ignoring, and (e) hiding. The relationship between themes is presented, and the relationship between themes and parent empowerment is discussed as well as the ways in which the themes reflect underlying ableism.

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