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08/24/2017

Early Intervention in Autism Spectrum Disorder: Concerns and Support of Portuguese Mothers


Early Intervention in Autism Spectrum Disorder: Concerns and Support of Portuguese Mothers

Lúcia S. Magalhães and Ana P. S. Pereira

 

Abstract: Families of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) face a series of daily challenges, from which emerge a number of concerns that are inherent to the reality of living with a child with ASD, as well as the demand for formal and informal supports that are required for these families. This study's main objectives were to:  (1) identify and consider the concerns of Portuguese mothers with children with ASD; (2) identify and consider the required forms of support that those mothers need; and (3) understand if the support networks that are given to these mothers are adequate in face of their concerns. Results showed that these mothers hold concerns and support that are consistent with most of the scientific studies in this area. Results also indicate a greater demand for formal support throughout the life of the child with ASD, rather than informal support. The inadequacy of support provided by the primary health care system is highlighted by the mothers, especially at the initial stage and in the diagnostic process. Finally, results suggest the adequacy of specialized formal support, especially in the context of early intervention, although mothers complain about the amount of existing supports, as well as the frequency and duration of sessions provided by therapeutic services and early intervention programmes.

 
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