Forgotten Youth and Photovoice: Using Visual Methodology to Give Voice to Muslim Siblings of Children with Disabilities

Sethi, Bharati | $149,716

Ontario King's University College at Western University 2021 CIHR Operating Grant

The COVID‑19 pandemic-induced economic and mental health crisis has disproportionately affected ethnic and racial minority families of children with disabilities, especially newcomers to Canada. For Muslim communities, the pandemic is exacerbating pre-existing systemic inequities due to racial discrimination. Parents struggled to cope with post-migration stressors without access to a full range of resettlement services. Consequently, they relied on their young son and/or daughter with no medical conditions to share caregiving responsibilities for their disabled siblings. Multiple COVID-induced stressors, including losing social interaction with friends/peers, prolonged home confinement, and learning to navigate virtual schooling in a new country, had adverse mental health on Muslim immigrant youth siblings of children with disabilities. Caregiving and translating the public health guidelines and directives that are important in reducing the risk of the virus for their limited English proficient parents put an additional burden on the siblings. In partnership with the project’s Principal Knowledge User (PKU), Dr. Mohammed Baobaid, the proposed community-engaged and arts-informed research will explore the lived experiences of Muslim immigrant youth siblings of children with disabilities during the COVID‑19 pandemic from their perspectives. As part of a Knowledge Translation process, we will use artistic tools developed during the research process (e.g., participant-generated photographs) to disseminate research-generated knowledge beyond the academy to health care and other service providers, service users, health practitioners, and policymakers. Study results will inform effective sex and gender-sensitive policy, practice, and clinical guidelines.

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