Background and purposes: Cerebral palsy (CP) is one of the most common childhood disabilities and makes heavy demands on health, educational, and social services as well as on families and children. In Saudi Arabia the term CP is recognized by most health professionals as a physically disabling condition, however this is not the case for the general public, nor more importantly for mothers of children with CP. Misinterpreting the term of CP by Arabic language, clearly exists. This research aimed to explore the perception of the term CP with mothers of children with CP.
Methods Critical ethnography was adopted as the methodological approach; data were collected through focus groups, individual interviews, field note and participant observation.
Results This study has provided preliminary data on the perception of Saudi mothers who have a child with CP. It was found that mothers reflected a good understanding about the medical terminology of the CP. However, most of the mothers did not accept that their child had this diagnosis. There was also a strong belief that the children were experiencing developmental delay. Mothers expressed their trust in God, and relying on God for their child cure and health and for giving them the courage to care for the child.
Conclusions This work has allowed mothers to express their beliefs about the term CP. The data yielded information regarding mothers’ beliefs surrounding the meaning of the CP term. These ranged from traditional and cultural beliefs to medical explanations, and to frank confusion between the two.