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Maternal Perceptions of Care-Giving of Children with Developmental Disabilities in the United Arab Emirates

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Background 

This qualitative study discusses family care-giving of children with developmental disabilities in the United Arab Emirates. Findings were reviewed in terms of the influence of culture on gender norms governing parental behaviour and aspirations. Method 

An ethnographic approach is used in which parent participants were interviewed intensively. The data were then analysed commensurate with ethnographic methodology in which parental care was considered in terms of gender differentials, in addition to other factors. Results 

Although mothers carried the main burden of support, this is ameliorated by cultural interpretations of the role of motherhood as well as practical coping strategies. Discrimination towards disability as well as gender is evident although countered by maternal strategies of resistance. Conclusions 

These indicate that daughters with disabilities are subject to oppressive attitudes and commensurate behaviour within the family setting, as well as in the wider society. However, such measures may in turn be challenged by mothers who demonstrate parental coping strategies that are both influenced by as well as subversive of cultural norms.
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Keywords: United Arab Emirates; care-giving; disability; mothers

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2007

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