Abstract

OBJECTIVE. This study describes the experiences of two mothers of Mexican origin who are immigrants living under undocumented status in the United States and who participated in their children’s early intervention programs.

METHOD. In-depth interviews, archival data, and participant observation conducted with two mothers of children with special needs provided data for this case study design research. A phenomenological analytical approach and qualitative data analysis software were employed to gain understandings particular to each family’s experience.

RESULTS. These families share similar experiences and interactions with many other families in the United States who live within the context of having a child with a disabling condition. Constraints on family functioning related to the families’ status of undocumented immigration included: mothers as active participants in their children’s early intervention programs, mothers’ understanding of their children, mothers’ communication with service providers, and life as an immigrant family of Mexican origin living under undocumented status.

CONCLUSIONS. The examination of how these mothers negotiated family life while participating in their child’s early intervention program provides an appreciation for how these families view the long road—“mucho camino”—involved in achieving their family’s well-being.

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