Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Special Education

Major Professor

Ann Cranston-Gingras, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Daphne Thomas, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Brenda Walker, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jennifer Wolgemuth, Ph.D.


Arab American Parents, Arab Families, Arab Culture, Disability, Qualitative Interviews


A gap exists in the literature regarding the needs, concerns, and overall experiences of Arab American parents of children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) (Al Khatib, 2017; Goforth, 2011; Haboush, 2007). This study explored the experiences of five Arab American mothers of children with ASD. A qualitative interview approach, utilizing in-depth interviews, was used in order to investigate Arab American parents’ experiences of caring for children with ASD, their cultural beliefs and understandings of their children’s ASD, and their concerns and needs regarding their children. Six themes emerged from the interview data, which offered insight into Arab American parents’ unique experiences of caring for a child with ASD, including (1) parents’ journeys toward the acceptance of the diagnosis of ASD, (2) beliefs about the cause of autism, (3) concerns, (4) needs, (5) coping techniques, and (6) unanticipated positive effects. Findings of this study and aspects related to Arab cultural beliefs with the ASD diagnostic process are discussed in detail, as well as implications of the findings for the field of special education and recommendation for future research.