The purpose of this paper is to compare experiences of two parents of adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) differing in gender, including their daily routines at school and at home, challenging behaviour, social support and future plans for their children.
The parents of the two adolescents with ASD were interviewed with open-ended questions related to their children as well as their personal experiences, along with getting their individual responses for the established Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS).
There were similarities and differences in the parents’ experiences with their adolescent children with ASD. Similarities included a limited social support outside their families, hopes for the future of their children, where in they emphasised the need for some “normality” for their child, and a lack of plan in terms of legal guardianship and written wills after their own time. Some of the differences were also noted in the parents’ description of symptoms of their children, with the father of the female adolescent reporting more negative experiences both with his child, as well as with his spouse, a lack of social support and, subsequently, more “dissatisfaction” on the SWLS than the mother of the male adolescent.
One of the major limitations of this study is the absence of feedback from the other parent besides the one being interviewed, due to which only one parental perspective was provided here.
There are vital social implications of this study. Both parents reported a limited social support due to which they expressed the need for increasing awareness for ASD in the general society. These findings illustrate the need for a focus on designing interventions for improving outcomes for both parent and child in similar situations.
This study compared the experiences of two parents of adolescents with ASD, differing in gender and symptomology, but similar in other respects, including the family demographic characteristics and cultural context.
Bhullar, N. (2019), "Parental experiences with an adolescent female and male with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in India", Advances in Autism, Vol. 5 No. 3, pp. 199-213. https://doi.org/10.1108/AIA-09-2018-0038
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