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Doctoral Student Supervision (Jan 2008 - Nov 2020)
Within the last few decades, major advances in the field of prenatal testing have transpired yet little research regarding the experiences of mothers who chose to continue their pregnancies after prenatally receiving a diagnosis of Down syndrome (DS) has been undertaken. Using social constructionism and interpretive description, this retrospective research study explores this topic from the point of view of the mothers involved and provides insight as to how the experience could be improved. Using purposive sampling 23 mothers were recruited from British Columbia (n=11) and Ontario (n=12) in Canada. Data retrieved through semi-structured in-depth interviews were analyzed using inductive, constant comparative analysis, the major analytical techniques of interpretive description.Four primary phases emerged from the data analysis 1) healthcare professional-mothers communications, 2) initial emotional response, 3) subsequent decision-making and 4) an adjustment and reorganization of life style to the preparation for the birth of the child. This study validates the individualized and contextualized nature of mothers’ decisions as influenced by multiple factors, with moral values/spiritual beliefs being significant. The mothers’ ability to cope was affected by the information communicated to them about their unborn baby’s diagnosis and the manner in which that information was delivered to them. Mothers used emotional coping strategies, dependent upon support from partners, family and friends, as well as from other families who have children with DS. Additionally, they employed practical coping strategies, such as engaging in healthcare planning, seeking relevant information, and reimagining and reorganizing their life style. Over time many families gained a sense of control over their situation and readjusted to the preparation for the birth of the child. Many mothers expressed the importance of maintaining positivity and hopefulness with respect to positive outcomes and opportunities for their children. The comprehensive information generated through this study will also provide healthcare professionals with relevant information to assist them in understanding the informational and emotional needs of these mothers. This should lead to an improvement in their practice and enhance their ability to intervene appropriately and effectively, better offering improved support to parents dealing with a diagnosis of DS for their child.
The acceptance of disabled employees and job seekers within the workplace is a key determinant of their employment success. The principal purpose of this dissertation is the development of the Co-Worker Acceptance of Disabled Employees (CADE) Scale. It is intended as a measure of the degree to which co-workers accept these employees within the workplace. The CADE Scale is supported by both theoretical and empirical evidence. The former, theoretical validity evidence, is considered within a newly developed model of disability, the Difference Model. That evidence, which is intended to mitigate a previously undescribed form of error associated with scale development, and which I refer to as ontological error, is applied to the development of the CADE Scale.The latter, empirical validity evidence, has been gathered from data generated through a content validity study. The Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing (2014) indicates that evidence based on scale content is one of the five principal and, typically, one of the first sources of empirical validity evidence to be considered. To meet this requirement, these data were gathered within a judgmental study with input from 21 Subject Matter Experts from Canada, the United States, Great Britain and Australia. This group included individuals with and without disabilities. Each represented one or more of three skill sets – experience delivering disability-related training or workshops; experience as a person with a disability in a corporate environment; an understanding of workplace dynamics, either as a practitioner or an academic, as these dynamics relate to employees with disabilities.This dissertation is presented within a framework of emancipatory disability research. As such, it is purposeful; that purpose, as articulated by many within the field of disability, is an attempt to improve life opportunities for individuals living with disabilities. In support of this purpose, I have included several “text box” summaries of my personal, professional, and academic relationships to this research. My intent is to provide an opportunity for ontological critique and, ultimately, to assist in meeting my principal purpose.