Expatriate Families with Neurodivergent Children: A Phenomenological Case Study
16 FEB 2023
11.30 AM - 1.00 PM
11.30 AM - 1.00 PM
There is a growing number of families raising children who are neurodivergent, with many of these families living abroad as expatriates. Having a neurodivergent child is an experience unique to each family and family member and brings with it complications additional to those of other families. The experience of raising a family as expatriates is also unique, with its own opportunities and challenges. There is an abundance of literature that addresses the experiences of families of neurodivergent children, as well as expatriate family experiences, however few studies have explored the intersectionality of the two. This a concern because understanding the characteristics of and the contexts in which families are positioned enables professionals who work with them foster positive partnerships and strategic supports (Brown, 2019; Marsh & Raimbekova, 2021; Resch et al., 2010), yet little is known about this phenomenon. This study aims to address this gap by exploring the lived experiences of expatriate families of neurodivergent primary-aged children in Singapore. Employing a qualitative interpretivist approach, this phenomenological multiple case study will explore the internal and external factors that have shaped and influenced the lived experiences of such families. Six families whose primary-aged children have been diagnosed with Autism or ADHD, and who are representative of the multiple cultural and linguistically diverse backgrounds in international schools in Singapore, will participate in the study. Through in-depth interviews, the lived experiences and perspectives of families will be gathered and thematically analysed with the support of a conceptual framework, that combines and adapts Bronfenbrenner’s (2005) Social Ecological Model and Family Systems Theory (Sepulveda-Kozakowski, 2018). It is anticipated that the findings from this study will make a contribution in three ways. It will contribute to the knowledge by revealing the unique lived experiences and contextual influences of expatriate families with neurodivergent children. Conceptually, it will contribute to the existing social ecological theory and family systems theory by introducing a framework that provides a lens for viewing families holistically. Ethically, it will contribute to affording families agency and voice, where their experiences can be heard rather than silenced, creating opportunities for educators’ and other professionals’ to better understand families with whom they work.
For more information, please email the Graduate Research School or phone 0746 31 1088.