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Perception of Disability from the Perspectives of Ethiopian Immigrant Parents Open Access

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Abstract of DissertationPerception of Disability from the Perspectives of EthiopianImmigrant ParentsThis study explored the perceptions of disability from the perspectives of Ethiopianimmigrant parents who have children with disabilities. The study was guided by the researchquestion: How do Ethiopian immigrant parents from the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area,who have children between the ages of 7-17 identified with disabilities and enrolled in publicschools, perceive disability? This study was approached through the lens of social constructivisttheory. Eight Ethiopian immigrants from the Washington, D.C. area (District of Columbia,Maryland, and Virginia) were participants of this qualitative study. Data were collected using asemi-structured interview protocol. Each participant was interviewed separately utilizing an indepth,one-on-one interview method. To analyze data, Braun and Clark's (2006) six-stepthematic qualitative data analysis was used.The following six major themes emerged: individuals with disabilities are betterembraced in the United States than in Ethiopia; faith and traditional treatment are highly valuedin the Ethiopian community; exposure to the mainstream culture impacts the acceptance ofdisability and coping with it; parents are grateful to the United States educational system andefforts of educators in supporting children with disabilities; huge sacrifices are made by parentsof children with disabilities; and parents are reluctant to seek help until prompted by health and,or school professionals.The findings of this study can be useful to a diverse population of professionals in thefield of education, health professionals, Ethiopian immigrants, and employees of Ethiopiancommunity centers located in different parts of the United States. The findings of this study alsogleaned ideas for future study topics that need to be further explored.

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