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J Psychiatr Ment Health Nurs. 2009 Aug;16(6):531-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2850.2009.01410.x.

Hardship, dedication and investment: an exploration of Irish mothers commitment to communicating with their children with cerebral palsy.

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  • 1Department of Speech and Language Therapy, St. Joseph's Hospital, Dungarvan, Co. Waterford, Ireland.


This qualitative study investigated the experiences of mothers who have a child with communication difficulties resulting from cerebral palsy (CP). There is a dearth of information about parents' experiences of having a child with CP and communication difficulties. Three participants, whose children had moderate or severe CP and communication difficulties, were recruited from a voluntary organization. Participants were interviewed using an in-depth, semi-structured interview guide. Interviews were audio-recorded, then transcribed and subsequently analysed using Grounded Theory methods. Five main themes emerged, combining to form the core category of mothers dedicating their attention to their children. The information gleaned from this study could have important implications for nurses involved in facilitating communication, including speech and language therapists, occupational therapists and registered nurses. By becoming more aware of the experiences of parents with a child with CP and communication disorders, nurses may be better able to plan and implement therapy and also support communication aims. The study concludes with a discussion of further research avenues, suggesting that a study investigating the experiences of parents of children with other types of physical disabilities affecting communication should be conducted to determine the similarities and differences of parents of children with other kinds of disability. A similar study with a larger sample could be conducted to validate the findings of the current study.

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