Diagnosis as a sociocultural practice: critical personal narratives of Asian immigrant mothers with Autism-Spectrum Disorder children in Canada

Romee LEE, Yidan ZHU*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)

Abstract

With an increasing number of children diagnosed with Autism-Spectrum-Disorder in Canada, this paper focuses on how their mothers, as Asian immigrant women, experience the process of diagnosis and learn to parent their children. By taking two Asian (Korean and Chinese) mothers’ critical personal narratives as major data sources, this paper aims to explore the diagnosis process of Autism-Spectrum-Disorder through a sociocultural lens on the intersectionality of (im)migrants and their cultural competence, and argues that their identity (re)construction and learning for parenting take place at the intersectionality of race, gender, class, and disability. This paper highlights possible implications for everyone involved in this ‘medical’ process, in the context of Canadian or other similar multicultural societies. 

Points of interest 

- Asian immigrant mothers usually have to deal with children with Autism-Spectrum-Disorder (ASD) and they have bitter experience of mistreatment tied to race, gender and class. 

- This study reveals how Asian immigrant mothers struggled in their integration to Canadian society as well as their experiences of denial into Canada’s medical system. 

- The stories of these two women shed lights on the social and cultural aspects of immigrant mothers’ learning strategies, including how they utilize accessible resources and networks for their children’s treatment and diagnosis. 

- This paper suggests that policymakers need to consider the social and cultural aspects of diagnosis in immigrant families to better fit their needs and provide them appropriate medical and social support.

Original languageEnglish
JournalDisability and Society
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 26 Aug 2020

Keywords

  • Asian immigrant mothers
  • Autism-Spectrum-Disorder (ASD)
  • Diagnosis
  • critical personal narrative
  • sociocultural approach

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