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Title: Reflections : an investigation into mothers' experiences of having an adult offspring with mild learning disabilities
Author: Copija, Monika
ISNI:       0000 0004 7652 7896
Awarding Body: University of East London
Current Institution: University of East London
Date of Award: 2017
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This is a qualitative study exploring the personal accounts of mothers of adult offspring with a diagnosis of mild learning disabilities (LD). Evidence has shown that the experiences of such mothers is under-represented in counselling and psychotherapy research. This study aims to address the gap. Eight participants were purposively selected for the project and were then interviewed using semi-structured interviews. The interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). The results of the analysis represent my interpretation of participants’ lived experiences of being mothers of adult offspring with a diagnosis of mild LD. The three superordinate themes which were generated in the participants’ personal accounts relating to the mothers’ experience are as follows: a) ‘Getting on with it’: unallowable emotions in living with a disabled offspring, b) Adult disability as invisible: falling off a cliff after the end of childhood, c) Glimmers of adulthood: negotiating transitions without a roadmap. Each theme consisted of two to three subthemes. Firstly, the research findings indicate that mothers of adult offspring with a diagnosis of mild LD often avoid negative emotions, which may prove unbearable in the present. Secondly, as the offspring reach adulthood and formal support significantly decreases, both the offspring and the mothers become ‘invisible’ to the services. Subsequently the lack of a future plan becomes apparent for both the adults with a diagnosis of LD and the mothers. This is in line with Turner’ theory of liminality (1969) which illustrates that despite the fact a person with LD becomes an adult, they often do not conform to a normative pathway and remain in a liminal state. Nevertheless, despite all the difficulties, mothers remain positive and try to focus on any capacity and the glimmers of adulthood displayed by their offspring with LD. The study highlights the need for improvement of health and social services for mothers of adult offspring with LD. Recommendations for future research are outlined and the role of professionals in future clinical practice is explored.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Prof.Couns.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Learning disability ; mothers ; adulthood