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Meehan Diane Ryder
Journal of Neuroscience Nursing: October 2005
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Stroke is estimated to occur in approximately 2.5-3.2 children per 100,000 annually. While some aspects of mothering a disabled child are currently known, there are other aspects of this experience that remain unknown. Much of the research focuses on children who are severely disabled, thus leaving a gap in what is known about the experience of mothers of mildly to moderately disabled children. Little is understood about mothering children who have a less severe disability, and in particular, a 3- to 6-year old child with hemiparesis. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to describe the experience of mothering a 3- to 6-year old child with hemiparesis. This study incorporated a phenomenological approach using Colaizzi's (1978) descriptive methodology. The participants were five biological mothers of children aged 3-6 years who were diagnosed with hemiparesis following a stroke. The children were considered mildly to moderately disabled and required two to three therapies, such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, or special education. In-depth, face-to-face interviews were conducted, audiotaped, and transcribed verbatim. By using Colaizzi's method for data analysis, the following six themes emerged: (1) Mothers' Way to Know, (2) Being Blown Away, (3) Gradual Awakening to an Uncertain Future, (4) Fiercely Advocating for My Child, (5) Living in a Middle World, and (6) A Heart Filled with Joy and Sorrow. This study provided data that were used to provide a beginning description of the experience of mothering a child with hemiparesis.

Questions or comments about this article may be directed to Diane Ryder Meehan, PhD APRN BC, 208 Chelsea Street, Staten Island, New York, 10307, or via e-mail to She is an assistant professor at the Marjorie K. Unterberg School of Nursing and Health Studies of Monmouth University in West Long Branch, NJ.

© 2005 American Association of Neuroscience Nurses