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“See the half-filled glass and move forward” parental experience of a single mother of two daughters with cognitive disabilities

Head of M.Ed, Special Education Program, Levinsky College of Education and Inbal Ben Haim, M.Ed.

The aim of this research is to give voice to a single mother of two grown up daughters with cognitive disabilities in order to examine her parental experience. The narrative approach is used in this study. The research tool is an in-depth narrative interview. The interview was recorded and transcribed and the findings divided into key themes that were analyzed in a holistic fashion combining formative and content related aspects. The research finds that this special type of parenting is complex and full of challenges. The mother adapted ways of coping that helped her on her parental journey. Her means of coping were cognitively produced and focused on emotions, with three guiding principles throughout: Seeing the glass as half full, relating to her daughters as normal and the desire to look after her daughters herself and not move them to an external framework. It appears that her optimistic personality influenced her positive parenting style. The research also found that support provided by nuclear family contributed to reinforcing the mother’s internal resources and enabled her to maintain a balance between caring for her daughters and developing a personal life and even a new relationship. We hope that insights from this study will enable educational and professional staff to provide appropriate and effective support to mothers of children with cognitive disabilities and consequently create a platform for fruitful and effective collaborations between them and educational and welfare institutions as well as framework that accompany their children after their school years.
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