Date of Award

January 2023

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


School of Public Health

First Advisor

Katie K. Wang


As the number of immigrants arriving in the US increases, it is necessary to understand the barriers they face in adapting to a new country to help ease their transition and improve their quality of life. One aspect of the immigrant experience that remains under-researched is the experiences immigrant mothers of children with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) have in navigating the health care and education systems. Immigrant mothers are held to higher standards than non-immigrant mothers in raising their children and are usually expected to advocate for their children’s education and health care. It is crucial that immigrant children with IDD have access to the necessary resources to thrive in and out of school and that their mothers feel supported in these efforts. A scoping review was conducted to gain insight into the experiences of immigrant mothers in obtaining these resources. A search across three databases yielded 716 studies, of which 19 were selected for review if they focused on the experiences of immigrant mothers, on children under 18 years old with IDD, and on either education or health care services. The studies were synthesized and categorized as either positive or negative experiences with the education or health care systems. The factors that impacted mothers’ experiences varied. How school administrators, staff, and health care practitioners navigated the language barrier between them and the mothers played a significant role in how these women felt they were treated. The findings highlight some of the factors that help or limit the efforts of immigrant mothers in caring for their children with IDD in the US. More research needs to be done on this topic to facilitate the creation of policies that hold school administrators, staff, and health care practitioners accountable for providing adequate services for children with IDD in collaboration with their mothers.


This is an Open Access Thesis.

Open Access

This Article is Open Access