What strategies work for parents of children with ASD?
By Chelsea Toledo, M.A. on October 30, 2018
Background: Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) often presents with behavioral issues in children that can be challenging for parents to manage. These include irritability, non-compliance, defiance, and anxiety. These issues tend to be more severe in children with ASD than in those with typical development or those with intellectual disability.
What’s New: Researchers recently conducted a meta-synthesis, combining findings from 69 qualitative studies on strategies leveraged by parents of children with ASD who demonstrated “problem behaviors.” After summarizing these findings, they organized parental strategies into nine categories:
- Accommodating the child
- Modifying the environment
- Providing structure, routine, and occupation
- Supervision and monitoring
- Managing non-compliance with everyday tasks and activities
- Responding to problem behavior
- Managing distress
- Maintaining safety
- Analyzing and planning
Their analysis revealed that parents of children with ASD had to leverage a greater number of strategies to pre-empt and address their children’s behavior than other parents. They also found that the strategies used by parents of children with ASD were more complex than those leveraged by other parents.
Why it’s important: This analysis suggests that parents of children with ASD tailor their approaches to manage specific differences in children with ASD – such as sensory sensitivities or rigidities in routine. Future research could formalize these strategies to aid parents raising children with ASD.
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