Preliminary Study: Taiwanese Mothers’ Experiences of Children With Sensory Processing Disorder

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Abstract

Background:

Different cultural backgrounds and parental experiences influence parenting styles and approaches to raising children with disabilities. Family-centered care should consider parental, especially main caregivers, experiences with their disabled children. In Taiwan, in most of homes, mothers are the main caregivers.

Purpose:

The purpose of this study was to explore Taiwanese mothers’ experiences with their children who have sensory processing disorder.

Methods:

This study used a qualitative ethnographic design and semistructured interview format. Transcripts were analyzed and synthesized into themes.

Results:

Three mothers were interviewed. The following three themes emerged: (a) relationships within the shared worlds of disability and culture, (b) daily life challenges and expectations, and (c) opportunity to receive professional services. These Taiwanese mothers expressed that they experienced stress from being blamed for insufficient skills and from the shame of their children’s disabilities that reflected lack of teacher, friend, and other family members’ understanding of the cause of their children’s inappropriate behaviors. Their children experienced difficulties performing daily activities, which resulted in stresses on both the mother and her child. The interviewed mothers needed to receive timely, long-term services from healthcare professionals. However, hospitals are inadequately staffed with occupational therapists, which delays care for children with special needs.

Conclusion:

Taiwanese mothers experience stresses from themselves, their child, and others. Healthcare professionals should apply a family-centered service approach to fulfill the needs of mothers and their disabled children. Moreover, healthcare professionals should promote greater awareness of sensory processing disorder symptoms and interventions to increase public awareness and acceptance of these children.

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