Vanderbilt Kennedy Center (TN LEND/UCEDD) Collects Stories from Parents of Children with Disabilities with Diverse Cultural Backgrounds

September 18, 2013

The Vanderbilt Kennedy Center (TN UCEDD/LEND) has compiled a booklet of stories from families of children with disabilities with diverse cultural backgrounds now living in Tennessee. The stories were collected as a collaborative effort of Tennessee Kindred Stories of Disability and the Tennessee Multicultural Alliance on Disability to raise awareness about the unique barriers and challenges immigrants and refugees face as they navigate an unfamiliar service system and culture. 

Stories were collected by undergraduate students at Vanderbilt University enrolled in a class in the Department of Special Education. The course provides an introduction to the field of family studies, with special attention paid to families that include children and adults with disabilities. Each semester, as part of a course assignment, students interview individuals with disabilities and family members and learn firsthand about their experiences in areas such as education, health care, housing, employment, and disability services in Tennessee. This marks the first year of collecting stories from families from diverse cultures.

Families were recruited through the Tennessee Multicultural Alliance on Disability and through the Multicultural Outreach Program of the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center. Interpreters were used when language barriers were present.

Tennessee Kindred Stories are shared each year with legislators during Tennessee Disability Day on the Hill and at the Federal Disability Policy Seminar to educate and raise awareness about a number of issues families face. The Arc Tennessee is a partner in these efforts. The 2014 booklet will focus on the topic of employment.

To view 2013 Kindred Stories of Disability: Families With Diverse Cultural Backgrounds, and booklets on other topics, click here