Date of Award

January 2011

Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Peggy P. Wittman

Department Affiliation

Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy

Second Advisor

Colleen M. Schneck

Department Affiliation

Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy

Abstract

Parents of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are known have higher levels of negative stress than parents of children without a chronic illness. These parents' roles and routines are also impacted since the many demands made by their children put them at greater risk of occupational injustice as they are less likely to participate in occupations of their choice. Despite multiple studies examining stress in parents of children with ASD, there is little to no recent published research on the effects of a parent consultation group on parents of children with ASD and their sense of competency and attitudes toward therapy. In this study three mothers chosen using a convenience sample participated in a weekly parent consultation group. A mixed methodology study was implemented to discover what these mothers perceive as the challenges and/or needs of their children, stressors concerning their child's and family's lifestyle, and how effective a parent consultation group was to them. These three parents' perceived their most challenging areas as their child's difficulty with routines, their dissatisfaction with school system, daily exhaustion, and their child's social participation. It was also found that there is an increase in parent sense of competency after participation in a parent consultation class when therapy is perceived as a positive experience. Occupational therapists can provide tools to parents of children with ASD to assist them in increasing levels of competency and decreasing stress in order to live a more occupationally balanced and satisfied life.

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