Alienated Advocacy: Perspectives of Latina Mothers of Young Adults With Developmental Disabilities on Service Systems

Johanna Shapiro, Lilia D. Monzo´, Robert Rueda, Juan A. Gomez, and Jan Blacher

Although collaborative partnership between parents and professionals is a cornerstone of the special education and service systems, this relationship exists more as an ideal, especially when low-income, culturally diverse families are involved. Through three focus groups, we examined the beliefs of 16 low-income Latina mothers of young adults with developmental disabilities about their relationships with the educational and service delivery systems. Primary concerns identified were (a) poor communication, (b) low effort in providing services, (c) negative attitudes of professionals toward the client–children, (d) negative treatment of parents by professionals, and (e) the mother’s role as central to the well-being of her child. Mothers tended to adopt a posture of alienated advocacy in relation to their child’s educational and service needs.

Read the full article