Helsingin yliopisto


Helsingin yliopiston verkkojulkaisut

Helsingin yliopisto, Helsinki 2006

Vammaisen lapsen äidin vanhemmuuden kokemus sekä lähiympäristön ja kasvatuskumppanuuden merkitys

Tuula Tonttila

Väitöskirja, elokuu 2006.
Helsingin yliopisto, käyttäytymistieteellinen tiedekunta, soveltavan kasvatustieteen laitos.

The parenthood experience of a mother with a disabled child and the meaning of the social environment and parent-professional partnerships

The importance of parental guidance when a family has a child with a disability or autism has been pointed out by several studies. The present research was based on the premise that by supporting the mother we can help the whole family to cope better and the professionals in day care or at school are able to support parents. The starting point was the subjective experience, which is also the central focus of the phenomenological method. The purpose of this study was firstly to describe the experience of the mother and the dialogue between mother and educational professionals. Secondly it was the task of this research to discover what kind of support and information the mother obtains from her social environment. At the background of this study there was the ecological theory of Bronfenbrenner, the ecocultural approach by Gallimore and the interactive examination of family that take into consideration the whole environment and personal situation.

The research data was collected by interviewing the mothers, the day care personnel and the teachers at school. In this research there were a total of 32 interviews and 24 informants: 10 mothers who have a child with a disability and/or autism, 8 professionals in day care and 6 teachers at school. This study was longitudinal because the same mothers were interviewed twice, first in 1998 and then after five years in 2003. It was thus possible to get information on whether their life situation had changed and the nature of those changes. The data of this study was analysed by the method of phenomenological psychology that was applied for this study.

The findings indicated that all mothers had experienced many complicated emotional feelings such as: anger, mourning, fear and sadness as well as love and bonding. It can be said that several human feelings existed at the same time. Mothers experienced that the support of the social environment, for example, relatives, families in the same situation and persons taking care of the child had significant meaning for their coping. However the life situation among the mothers varied. Mostly mothers received valuable support for their parenthood and they have adopted a strong emotion for manage ring. Mothers with an autistic child were more stressed than mothers with a mentally retarded child. A few mothers had numerous problems with taking care of their child and they did not get enough help. Same mothers were very exhausted too and the situation was quite the same after five years, when their child was teenager. All mothers said that after starting school the support for the family had significally diminished. Mothers said that dialogue with teacher got on without problems, but there were meetings seldom, so it wasn´t possible to get enough support for their parenthood.

Keywords: parenthood, motherhood, disability, early special education, family-centred.

The title page of the publication

Julkaisu on tekijänoikeussäännösten alainen. Teosta voi lukea ja tulostaa henkilökohtaista käyttöä varten. Käyttö kaupallisiin tarkoituksiin on kielletty.

© Helsingin yliopisto 2006

Viimeksi päivitetty 08.08.2006

Yhteystiedot, Contact information E-thesis Helsingin yliopisto, University of Helsinki