Experiences and Impact of Having Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder On the Lives of Their Korean-American Mothers

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A diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) changes family dynamics and impacts family members’ lives. Knowing family perceptions of ASD and understanding their experiences and challenges with children’s ASD provides more important context for socially valid intervention approaches. In particular, given the increased need for culturally responsive interventions, investigating the impact of ASD diagnosis on a particular cultural group offers meaningful preliminary evidence for efficient approaches for educators who seek to serve that population. In this study, the authors used naturalistic inquiry to explore how Korean American mothers experience their children’s ASD and how their cultural values and perceptions of ASD relate to their lives and their children’s education. Five Korean American mothers participated in this study. Using constant comparative analysis, four key themes were identified: (a) chains of emotional distress, (b) impact of ASD on family relationships, (c) lifestyle impact, and (d) cultural differences in navigating educational systems. These findings are discussed for future research and practice.

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Exceptionality: A Special Education Journal

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