This proposal is designed to explore the social, emotional, and educational concerns and stressors that are faced by ethnic minority families, specifically African American and Mexican American families as they parent mentally retarded or developmentally delayed children. Families are viewed as having been formed within the socio-historical context of ethnicity and race. The cultural beliefs have formed resilient shields in the past and the beliefs that are related to mental retardation will be examined. The educational and rehabilitative resources that are available to these families will depend in part upon the way these families are viewed by society at large. The ethnic minority families have to go through the establishment of all of the responses to a retarded child that the mainstream families have, but they have the additional stressors that come from being members of racial ethnic groups. Diverse economic resources, class status, and their ethnicity will make it more difficult to obtain the needed services for their retarded children.
The specific aims of this objectives of this proposal will be: To examine parental attitudes among and between African American and Mexican American parents toward their mentally retarded children, differences and similarities related to their ability to cope with stressor of having children with mental retardation, and to examine the traditional and cultural beliefs and values about the causes, acceptance, and approaches to obtaining appropriate services. In addition, special attention will be paid to parental and paternal roles as well as the extended family networks that are established and maintained.