Children with disabilities--Care; Children with disabilities--Family relationships; Desertion and non-support--Mexico; Low-income single mothers


Women who give birth to a child with a mental or physical impairment in Mexico are typically believed to be “at fault” for the disability by their family (Skinner, Bailey, Correa, & Rodríguez, 1999). As a result, men often abandon their family, leaving the mother and children in poverty (Skinner et al., 1999). Bree Lair, MOTR/L, co-founder and director of International Service Learning for Push International, a non-profit organization that works closely with Padres y Compadres Pediatric Therapy Center in Mazatlan, Mexico stated that more than half of the mothers caring for a child with disabilities at their clinic are single mothers in poverty (personal communication, February 17, 2012).

The mothers at Padres y Compadres Pediatric Therapy Center lack education about proper body mechanics when transferring and handling their children (J. Lair, personal communication, January 8, 2012). Several studies indicate that the most effective tool for injury prevention for caregivers is education (Brown & Mulley, 1997). More specifically, research has shown that with increased education about proper body mechanics for activities that require lifting, carrying, and pushing, the chance of injury has decreased (Maynard & Blain, 2002).

Injury prevention is especially important for mothers at Padres y Compadres because they are at high risk for injury due to their existing hardship and role as single mothers. Occupational therapists work with individuals to promote safe body movements, positioning, and transfers, and in areas such as child rearing, health management, and health maintenance (American Occupational Therapy Association [AOTA], 2008). Occupational therapy services focus on outcomes of prevention and quality of life, as well as, education on injury prevention. This educational project was presented to the mothers at Padres y Compadres, providing them knowledge to protect their own bodies from injury, which in turn will allow them to provide sustained child rearing care.

First Advisor

Marge Luthman, MS, OT/L

Second Advisor

Tatiana Kaminsky, PhD, OTR/L

Date of Completion

Spring 2013

Degree Type







Degree Name

Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)

Date of Award



Occupational Therapy


University of Puget Sound