Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


College of Education and Human Services


Family and Child Studies

Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Christine Price

Committee Member

Olena Nesteruk

Committee Member

Alicia Broderick


The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the experiences of 14 mothers who have children with Autism and aggression issues. The combination of marginalization, stigma and the impact of aggression were found to be an overarching theme with emotional effects of fear, despair, guilt and anxiety being experienced by the mothers. Using grounded theory and feminist disability theory, a process of coping emerged which included analyzing for aggression triggers, as well as searching and utilizing resources. The end result of this model was mothers becoming advocates or maintaining a level of coping. A significant finding of this study was the mothers’ lack of access to formal and community supports by school professionals. A lack of consistent protocols regarding when their child is restrained in school and possible police intervention was also noted by these mothers. Implications for school professionals and future research are discussed.

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