Mothers of Children with Down Syndrome: Constructing the Sociocultural Meaning of Disability

Document Type


Publication Date


Journal / Book Title

Intellectual and developmental disabilities


A qualitative study explored mothers' experience of the birth of a child with Down syndrome within a sociocultural context. Nine mothers of children with Down syndrome were interviewed. Mothers discussed responses to their child's diagnosis as well as negative attitudes toward disability that were displayed by members of the medical community. The narratives highlight the process of meaning-making that these mothers engaged in, their resistance to the dominant discourse on disability, and their eventual transformations in perceptions of disability and motherhood. The study suggests that the meaning of Down syndrome may be culturally embedded and that mothers of children with Down syndrome locate their child's disability within a social environment.



Published Citation

Lalvani, P. (2008). Mothers of children with Down syndrome: Constructing the sociocultural meaning of disability. Intellectual and developmental disabilities, 46(6), 436-445.