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Parents Of Children With High-functioning Autism: Experiences In Child-parent Relationship Therapy (Cprt)

Description: This qualitative study attempted to capture the experiences of parents of children with high-functioning autistic spectrum disorders participating in child-parent relationship therapy (CPRT). Parents of children with high-functioning autistic spectrum disorders (HFASD) are prone to experiencing stress in the parent-child relationship due to difficulty in social understanding and rigid behavioral patterns often found among children with HFASD. Moreover, parents of children with HFASD may feel challenged to find suitable interventions that are time-limited, affordable, and appropriate for parents and children with HFASD. Because no research currently investigates the perceived acceptability of CPRT for parents of children with HFASD, it was decided that a qualitative study would best capture the experiences of parents of children with HFASD participating in CPRT to understand more fully whether CPRT is an appropriate intervention for these parents. Four parents and one grandparent were interviewed prior to and following their participation in 10 sessions of CPRT. Thematic analysis of the pre- and post-intervention interviews as well as the 10 CPRT sessions revealed eight themes related to the parents overall experience of CPRT and change in the parent, child, and parent-child relationship: understanding of CPRT concepts, reactions to CPRT, group dynamic, child characteristics, parent characteristics, knowledge and experiences with HFASD, family context, and parent-child relationship. The emerging themes indicated that the five participants found CPRT to be a useful intervention for developing skills to deal with child-behavior concerns related to HFASD. The participants also reported developing a better understanding of their children with HFASD and four parents reported increased closeness in the parent-child relationship. The implications for this research are that CPRT may offer parents of children with HFASD a time-limited intervention that meets their needs as parents, as well as possibly helping parents and children with HFASD develop increased closeness in the parent-child relationship.
Date: December 2011
Creator: Sullivan, Jeffrey M.