ANOTHER BATTLE, ANOTHER HURDLE: HOW PARENTS CREATE MEANING FROM RAISING A CHILD WITH AUTISM
1 online resource (193 pages) : PDF
University of North Carolina at Charlotte
The prevalence of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) is increasing (CDC, 2016). Research studies have focused on either medical treatments and therapeutic interventions for this disorder, or the trauma of the diagnostic process. Scholarship, however, currently does not examine how parents reconstruct their role identity to address these changes. Additionally, few studies address how parents create meaning from the experience of raising a child with ASD. This study attempts to bridge the communicative and psychological scholarship on meaning-making as it relates to this experience using the lenses of systems theory and social constructivism. Eight case families participated in in-depth interviews, field observations, and a focus group to discuss the changes to their role identity and to reflect on issues related to meaning-making and the impact ASD has on their lives. Data revealed five themes in the reconstruction of the parenting role: accommodating, advocating, balancing family needs, managing behaviors, and grieving. A contextual theme of changing demands was evident across these five themes, reflecting the wide-range of behaviors and comorbidities associated with the disorder. These changing demands resulted in nearly constant assessment of participant enactment of the reconstructed parent role. Successful adjustment to these revised roles was not evident, and parents constructed both positive and negative meanings to accommodate these changes. Limitations and future directions are also discussed.
AUTISMIDENTITYMEANING-MAKINGPARENT ROLESOCIAL CONSTRUCTION
Peterman, AmyStokes, AshliScheid, Teresa
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of North Carolina at Charlotte, 2017.
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