Alexandria Digital Research Library

Experiences of Asian Indian Families with Special Education and Disability-Related Services in America

Walz, Amber
Degree Grantor:
University of California, Santa Barbara. Education
Degree Supervisor:
Mian Wang
Place of Publication:
[Santa Barbara, Calif.]
University of California, Santa Barbara
Creation Date:
Issued Date:
Health Sciences, Health Care Management, Asian American Studies, and Education, Special
Special Education
Asian Indian
Dissertations, Academic and Online resources
Ph.D.--University of California, Santa Barbara, 2013

The American disability service system is predicated on underlying assumptions and beliefs which are dominant in the majority culture. Consequently, minority families, such as families from India, living in America sometimes experience dissonance with respect to the services provided to their family due to their varying cultural values. As such, it is imperative that professionals are able to provide culturally responsive services which respect the customs and values of each family. It is also necessary that service providers are able to evaluate these families' satisfaction with the services they are receiving. Service Adequacy, Family Professional Partnership, and Family Quality of Life have been found to be valuable service outcomes within families in the majority culture in America. Studies examining whether these constructs are similar with families of Asian Indian descent are necessary in order to assess satisfaction and cultural fit of disability-related services, and to provide the most appropriate support to these families.

The purpose of the current study was to examine factors that influenced family satisfaction with service adequacy, family professional partnership, and family quality of life as well as how these variables are interrelated particularly for families of Asian Indian descent living in America. Additionally, this mixed methods study aimed to gain information on which specific features of the disability system are considered to be most valuable or most hindering to families of Asian Indian descent as well as what the perceived barriers are to achieving positive family quality of life. These questions were examined through quantitative and qualitative data collected in two phases. Twenty-five participants responded to a survey providing information on their perspectives relating to special education and disability-related services and ten parents of children who have received special education and/or disability-related services participated in semi-structured interviews in which they were asked to share their experiences and beliefs relating to the services provided and the disability service system in America. Participant interviews were audio recorded, transcribed, and analyzed using methods informed by content analysis.

Results of the quantitative analysis revealed that Asian Indian families had generally positive ratings of SA, FPP, and FQOL, with the most satisfaction reported with FPP. Results of multiple regression analyses indicated that child and family-level demographic variables were not predictive of SA, FPP, and FQOL. Among SA, FPP, and FQOL, FPP was found to be a significant predictor of FQOL; however SA was not found as a significant predictor of FQOL.

Analysis of the ten parent/caregiver interviews revealed two major themes contributing to the discussion of the most valuable and most hindering aspects of the American disability service system: (a) Parental Involvement, or parental participation in services, parental knowledge and expertise, parents as advocates, and parent education; and (b) Service Provisions, or barriers to and methods of accessing diagnoses and effective services, agency and organizational factors, and navigating the service system. In regards to the perceived barriers to achieving a positive family quality of life, three major themes emerged from analysis of the interview data: (a) Impact on Family, or impact on family members and family life; (b) Cultural Norms, or the impact of culture, acceptance of disability, and access to supports; and (c) Community Resources, or the ways in which parents obtained support. Finally, the appropriateness of FQOL, SA, and FPP in measuring family outcomes with the Asian Indian population was established.

Overall, results of the present study provide a significant contribution to the literature as this study represents one of the first attempts at researching Asian Indian family perceptions with the American disability service system. Further, the present research highlights the importance of culturally competent services, and in particular, an understanding of cultural beliefs in regards to the roles of parents in the parent-professional partnership. This study also underscores the need for professionals to act as advocates for both children with special needs and their parents by connecting them to supports and assisting them with making accommodations and adaptations to their family life. Finally, methodological issues with respect to conducting research with the Asian Indian population are discussed.

Physical Description:
1 online resource (277 pages)
UCSB electronic theses and dissertations
Catalog System Number:
Inc.icon only.dark In Copyright
Copyright Holder:
Amber Walz
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