The social support networks of 25 Puerto Rican single mothers of young children with disabilities were examined and compared with current models of family support for children with disabilities. This study was designed to assess the support systems of Latino single mothers in light of dominant models of family support. The Family Support Scale, the ECOMAP, and responses to open-ended questions were employed to describe the characteristics of Puerto Rican single mothers' support systems. Study findings suggest that members of the children's immediate and extended kinship system, including non-blood relatives (e. g., madrinas), play a strong role in the support network of the mothers interviewed. Implications for early childhood professionals who work with Latino parents of children with disabilities are examined.
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Acknowledgments Preparation of this paper was supported in part by Grant #R01HD31870 from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. The authors wish to thank Don Bailey and Debra Skinner at the Frank Porter Graham Center in Chapel Hill for their help in the development of this paper, and the Puerto Rican families who kindly volunteered to participate in this study. We also thank John Ziegert for his assistance with the reviewing and editing of the manuscript. We want to express our appreciation to several anonymous reviewers, who raised important issues and made invaluable suggestions.
- Latino single mothers
- Puerto Rican
- Social support networks
- Young children