Caring for children with disabilities in a foreign land: Experiences and perceptions of a group of Korean parents and professionals


  • Clara Choi
  • Hong-Jae Park
  • Michael O'Brien



Children, disabilities, culture, parents of children with disabilities, migrant parents, Korean


INTRODUCTION: This article aims to provide an overview of the experiences of Korean immigrant parents raising children with disabilities in Aotearoa New Zealand, primarily focusing on their experience of disability services and systems.

METHODS: As the present exploratory study aimed to gain a deeper understanding of immigrant parents’ experiences and perceptions, a qualitative approach was employed to collect rich and lived information from participants. Ten participants were recruited and interviewed among Korean parents of children with disabilities and professionals working with those families.

FINDINGS: Lack of trust among Korean parents living in Aotearoa New Zealand was frequently discussed by the participants in the present study. Lack of information around available services and alternative support and cultural barriers were often identified to have a significant impact on Korean parents’ experiences with services. A sense of obligation to integrate into the host society and the services provided was also evident. Further, there was a contradictory perception between parents and associated professionals in relation to services’ expectations of Korean parents.

 CONCLUSIONS: From analysis of the findings, three main themes emerged: experiences of services and its relations with trust, cultural values and expectations, and looking to the future. The study suggests that there is a need for professionals, service providers and government to consider ways to build trusting relationships with Korean parents and their children with disabilities, and makes a number of recommendations. 



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How to Cite

Choi, C., Park, H.-J., & O’Brien, M. (2017). Caring for children with disabilities in a foreign land: Experiences and perceptions of a group of Korean parents and professionals. Aotearoa New Zealand Social Work, 29(4), 61–73.



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