Understanding and Supporting Families With Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

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Reynolds, Kim
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Families that have a member with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) face considerable adversity. Although a large body of research already exists for ASD, more research is warranted in understanding how ASD impacts the family as a unit. This project investigates the challenges and impacts for families with children with ASD by examining the lived experiences of these families. General themes that emerged while undertaking this literature review include the burdens placed on caregivers of children with ASD and associated effects on family functioning, such as marital and sibling relations. Other themes drawn from the research include the systemic barriers and challenges families face while accessing mental health support, including how the global Covid-19 pandemic has affected these families. Further themes such as social stigma experienced by families were also inherent in the literature. Results of this review highlight the importance of considering ASD as a family endeavour, not just an experience of the child with ASD. This review aims to inform the mental health field of the benefits of approaching ASD through a family systems lens by providing support and treatment that addresses the entire family, such as family therapy, mindfulness, and celebrating the natural resiliency of families affected by ASD.
ASD , autism spectrum disorder , families , lived experiences , covid-19 , stigma , resiliency
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States , openAccess