Exploring patterns between school perceptions, child behavior, and maternal well-being among Latina mothers of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD)

Jesus Alejandra Valencia Medina, Kristina Rios, Janeth Aleman-Tovar, Meghan M. Burke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Research suggests that child problem behavior and poor family-school partnerships contribute to maternal stress in families of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). However, most extant research focuses only on White families even though Latina mothers of children with ASD experience greater systemic barriers impacting parent well-being and access to school services. Using individual interviews, this study investigates the pattern between school perceptions, child behavior, and psychological well-being among 13 Latina mothers of school-aged children with ASD. This sample was selected based on their elevated scores on the Difficult Child subscale of the Parenting Stress Index. Findings indicate that all participants reported feeling fear, frustration, worry and stress due to their child’s behavior. Specifically, participants worried about their child’s safety and expressed frustration with their child’s problem behavior. Notably, participants reported mixed responses regarding the schools’ actions to address their children’s behavior. Implications for research and practice are discussed with respect to family-school partnerships among Latina mothers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalInternational Journal of Developmental Disabilities
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2020



  • ASD
  • health and well-being
  • IEP
  • Latina mothers
  • Latino families
  • stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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