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Title: What is the experience of primary eyecare for children with an autistic spectrum disorder? : a grounded theory investigation
Author: Gow, Louise
ISNI:       0000 0004 7224 6923
Awarding Body: London South Bank University
Current Institution: London South Bank University
Date of Award: 2015
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Background: Autism spectrum disorder is a group of lifelong neuro-developmental disorders that influence the way people interact, view and communicate with their world. It is thought that people with autism spectrum disorders have a shorter life span because they do not alert people to health problems that might be treatable. Healthcare in the United Kingdom is intended to be accessible equally by all. Planning for services requires the input of service users to ensure that they are accessible. There is limited knowledge about the experience of eye-care from the service user’s perspective. Aim: The aim of this research is to investigate the experience of eye-care from the perspective of children with autism spectrum disorders. Methods: A grounded theory methodology was used. Eight primary carer and child dyads and five eye-care professionals were interviewed. Data were analysed and the categories that emerged were integrated to develop theory. Findings: The overarching category that emerged from the children’s data was feeling in control. There are facilitators and barriers to this which are dependent on the autism spectrum disorder awareness of eye-care practitioners and the eye-care awareness of primary carers. Conclusion The experience of primary eye-care for children with an autism spectrum disorder is dependent on whether they feel in control of the situation. The theory generated indicates that a child can be enabled to feel in control if their primary carer and eye care professional work together to reduce the sensory burden, provide continuity, and adapt the process in a person-centred way. This research shows that strategies that enable the child to feel in control can reduce the challenges of the process of primary eye-care. In order for this to be possible the primary carer and eye care professional need effective communication pathways to plan for each individual’s specific needs and to prepare the child for the experience.
Supervisor: Evans, Bruce ; Benwell, Martin Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Prof.) Qualification Level: Doctoral