Culture, empowerment, and low-income families of children with disabilities in India

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Teaching and Leadership


Peter Knoblock


low-income families, disabilities

Subject Categories

Special Education and Teaching


The concepts of parent empowerment and participation, currently popular in the disability field, that emerge from the American ideals of equity and choice lose much of their meaning when transplanted within India, where the rigidly hierarchical culture precludes the rights of low income parents with disabled children. This study of the perspectives of low-income Indian families found both professionals and parents culturally conditioned into their roles. The middle-class professionals defined parent participation in terms of parent education and provided no forum for the parents' input when making decisions about their child's education; in turn, the parents, always aware of their low socioeconomic status, did not demand the opportunity to be allowed to participate. The study suggests, one, that arguments based on the Indian values of social duties and obligations, rather than parental rights, will be more conducive to convincing professionals that parents be given a voice, and, two, that, in time, the deliberate and conscious inclusion of parents by professionals in the decision-making process will lead to a more equitable distribution of power in parent-professional interactions.


Surface provides description only. Full text is available to ProQuest subscribers. Ask your Librarian for assistance.