Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Alexandra Gottardo

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


Past literature on parents' identification of children with learning disabilities is very limited. Within the existing literature, the possibility of differences between cultures in parents' perceptions of children with learning disabilities has scarcely been examined. Two cultural groups were examined in the present study: Asian Indian (Sikh, collectivist culture) and Caucasian 1 (individualistic culture). Parents with children without learning disabilities (and some with children with learning disabilities) were examined. Both groups were given a survey to explore how they would identify children with learning disabilities. Population proportions were calculated on how the entire sample (i.e., Caucasian and Asian Indian participants combined) would identify a child with learning disabilities. In order of significance, children with learning disabilities were identified by the way they behave, talk, think and look. Parents were then given a vignette, describing a child with learning disabilities. They were asked to answer various questions tapping into problem-focused coping strategies (actively trying to alleviate the stress) versus emotion focused coping strategies (emotional responses to the stress). It was found that Asian Indian parents were more likely to use emotion-focused coping strategies and Caucasian parents were more likely to use problem-focused coping strategies. These findings indicate that Asian Indian and Caucasian parents use different strategies when dealing with the prospect of having a child with learning disabilities. It is hoped that the results of this study will encourage educators to be more culturally sensitive in dealing with parents of children with learning disabilities. 1 In this research paper, Caucasian is a term used to describe, mainstream "white" Canadians of European descent.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season