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04/09/2018

Experiences of African American Mothers of Sons with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Lessons for Improving Service Delivery


Experiences of African American Mothers of Sons with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Lessons for Improving Service Delivery

Temple S. Lovelace, Rachel E. Robertson, and Sareska Tamayo

 

Abstract: Previous research has indicated that having a child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) presents a unique set of challenges that impacts the entire family unit and individual family members’ health, well-being, and experiences across the lifespan (Patterson, 2005; Turnbull, Turnbull, Erwin, & Soodak, 2006). Very few studies have addressed the role that racial and cultural identity may play in the experiences of these families, in particular, the experiences of African American families with children with ASD. The purpose of the present study was to qualitatively interview three African American caregivers of children with ASD to gain their perspectives on their experiences with their child and examine whether there may be a unique set of experiences associated with being an African American family of a child with ASD. Several themes emerged that suggested increased hardships for African American mothers of children with ASD. Implications of findings, including the need for a culturally-responsive approach across many domains of service (e.g., diagnosis, autism services, and special education services), are provided.

 
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