An exploration of resilience in families with a child diagnosed with an Autism spectrum disorder
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The purpose of this qualitative research study was to explore how families with children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) were able to move through the adverse situation that they face while raising a child with significant developmental needs and challenges. The theoretical framework that guided this phenomenological research was family resilience. The research participants included 14 parents of at least one child with an ASD. The age range of the participants ranged from 30 to 65, and they all resided in a large metropolitan area. A face-to-face interview was conducted with each of the participants in their own home or in a private setting. Participants were asked one question: Please tell me about your experience of raising a child with an ASD. The interviews were audiotaped, transcribed verbatim, and analyzed to determine themes. Eight themes emerged: (a) balancing life around the child with ASD; (b) remaining watchful and alert; (c) reaching a point of acceptance; (d) dealing with judgment; (e) gaining support; (t) relying on spirituality and faith; (g) learning to laugh; and (h) celebrating small successes. Conclusions, implications, and recommendations for future studies were reported in an effort to aid family therapists, school staff, and other mental health professionals in providing supports and resources to families with children with ASD.