Perspectives of Parents Who Have a Child Diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder

Lori A. Kalash, Ed.D.


Minot State University in Minot, North Dakota


Myrna R. Olson, Ed.D.


University of North Dakota

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to understand the experiences and perceptions of parents having a child diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD).  Interviews with 12 parents were audio-recorded and subsequently analyzed to reveal the following themes:  (a) Diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder was not confirmed until years and/or several doctor visits after parents identified concerns. (b) Because they were given little guidance by medical professionals, parents took the initiative to educate themselves about their child’s disorder and optional therapies. (c) Lack of daycare options and the cost of interventions were stressors for these families. (d) Parents were torn between their child with an ASD and other family members and friends. (e) Anxiety about the future was prevalent. (f) Parents felt judged by others when with their child in public.  (g) Many parents felt that vaccinations may have played a role in their child’s ASD.


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