Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science Education

Degree Level



Rehabilitation, Human Resources and Communication Disorders


Hagstrom, Fran

Committee Member/Reader

Aslin, Larry

Committee Member/Second Reader

Frazier, Kimberly


The purpose of this study is to qualitatively investigate and compare the family beliefs, values, and perceptions of parenting of families who have adopted children with Down syndrome (DS) to parents who have biological children with DS. Participants in the study included 27 parents of biological children with DS and six parents of adopted children with DS. Participants were interviewed through a digital survey that was distributed through Qualtrics Online Survey Software. Quantitative analysis placed the participants into groups and qualitative analysis was used to identify beliefs, values, and perceptions. Results showed that while both adoptive and biological parents indicated that support services have played an important role in raising their child with DS, 100% of adoptive parents indicated a desire for the creation of additional services/programs to better serve their child with DS and only 63% of biological parents indicated the same desire. There were no significant differences in level of stress seen between the two groups, joys and benefits added to family life, or challenges faced by families. While participants from both groups reported similar values and beliefs that have contributed to their parenting decisions, themes found in motivation differed between biological and adoptive parents.