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Title: Listening to parents of children with autistic spectrum disorder : using interpretative and critical research approaches to consider 'how parent experience of bringing up a child with autism can inform professional practice and provision'
Author: Willis, Brian
ISNI:       0000 0001 3569 7256
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2008
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The main aim of the study was to consider how parents' experiences of bringing up a child with autism might inform professional practice and provision. The enquiry investigated how mothers made sense of their experiences and the effects of bringing up their child, including their coping mechanisms and the arising key messages for practice. The study was based in a LA context and was carried out by a practising Educational Psychologist (EP). This research practitioner orientation required critical or action research elements to merge with interpretative method. Thus, initial contact was made with autism parent groups to ground the study in a local context and to develop research and interview questions. Critical action planning resulted from concerns arising from these groups. Semi-structured interviews were carried out with six mothers whose circumstances in bringing up their child had been particularly challenging. Their children attended both mainstream and special autism provision in the primary and secondary school sectors. The themes emerging from the powerful joint interpretative account of the mothers highlighted a deconstruction and reconstruction of self and expectations with unfulfilled wishes and control as key themes. Life impacts involved the child as central focus, an all-pervasive constant battle with self and others, including family, professionals and provision with associated child management issues being present. These key themes impacted on professional practice; and provision so that the importance of informed professional awareness, truly listening professionals, accepting school identity and service trust were highlighted. Professionals and parents should develop an understanding and acceptance of the child and each other, which still enables challenge and change. The position of fathers in family support needs further research and careful professional consideration. Professionals, including EPs, need to address the way they listen to parents. Some recommendations for all agencies and parents are provided which should lead us to a deeper understanding of humanity.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ed.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available