Understanding how parents of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders perceive the role of formal and informal support resources

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Avery, Kaitlyn
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University of Guelph

The purpose of this study was to understand the influence of support resources on the lives of parents of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). A family-systems approach was adopted to examine how parents perceive the Ontario Autism Program (OAP) to be effective in supporting their needs and the impact of COVID-19 on accessing support. This study followed a mixed-methods approach, whereby 35 participants completed an online survey. Descriptive statistics were collected to create a demographic profile of the sample population and thematic analysis was used to provide detailed experiences of parents who access support resources for their families. Participants identified several barriers to accessing services, such as funding restrictions and lengthy waitlists; additionally, parents indicated that services did not consider the needs of the entire family unit. The thesis concludes with recommendations for key stakeholders to improve the centralization and coordination of services to help ameliorate barriers faced by families.

autism, ASD, parents of children with autism, support