Dissertation - Public Access
Ed.D. Doctor of Education
Disability and Equity in Education
Terry Jo Smith
This autoethnographic research delves into a mother’s experiences with her disabled son over thirty-five years. Beginning with a thick description of the crib accident that resulted in physical and cognitive disabilities that profoundly change the course of both mother and son’s life, this research chronicles the search for meaning, community, and healing as they negotiate the realms of medicine, education, career, family, and spirituality. Models of disability that seek to explain various ways in which society often views disability are examined, but none resonate with the researcher’s intimate experiences nor satisfies her deepest needs for insight and healing. Making a distinction between religious models that often carry negative assumptions of guilt and shame related to disability, this research delves into what the author describes as spiritual insights drawn from various religions and teachers, including her son, who impart wisdom with compassion. This research explores the critical incidences and insights that teach her to listen, observe, and to be open to new ideas and ways of thinking and acting, and a new image of God. Through spiritual struggles she is able to find forgiveness, understand new perspectives and let go of resentment. Eventually, tragedy turns to gift and hopeful meaning is restored to living.
Higgins, Margaret C. EDD, "A Mother's Spiritual Journey with Her Disabled Son: An Autoethnography" (2016). Dissertations. 219.
Counseling Psychology Commons, Counselor Education Commons, Disability and Equity in Education Commons, Early Childhood Education Commons, Educational Methods Commons, Educational Psychology Commons, Educational Sociology Commons, Elementary Education Commons, Family, Life Course, and Society Commons, Humane Education Commons, Medicine and Health Sciences Commons, Other Psychology Commons, School Psychology Commons, Secondary Education Commons, Social Work Commons, Special Education and Teaching Commons, Student Counseling and Personnel Services Commons