Title

Families with Children with Autism: An Exploration of Family Health

Start Time

5-10-2012 1:00 PM

End Time

5-10-2012 1:30 PM

Session Type

Event

Abstract

Purpose/hypothesis: Central to child health is family health. Behaviors of children diagnosed with autism often pose a threat to family health. Families raising children with autism have expressed social isolation and the needs of the child take priority over the needs of the family; thus the very mechanism that is required to mediate all other interventions is at risk. The recurrent disruptions in family rituals and routines can be linked to instability in family health, resulting in substantial physical, social, emotional and financial costs affecting both family and child. The purpose of this study was to explicate the perceptions of what represents family health in these families.

Methods: This study used participatory research methodology, specifically phenomenological approach to photovoice, to capture the essence of family health for families raising children with autism and to illuminate their perceptions of their family’s health. Thirty families were recruited for the study and consented to in-depth interviewing inquiring about family health, life, routines and rituals. Families were trained and instructed on the data gathering procedures used for photovoice and recorded instances, situations and events of family health. The families completed the Family Routines Inventory, the Family Ritual Questionnaire and a demographic survey. Phenomenological, iconographic and descriptive analyses were used across and within data points/sources.

Discussions/Conclusions: Results of this study contributed to the building of the construct of family health, explicating the essential characteristics of family health specifically including family rituals and togetherness.

Questions for discussion:

  • Are family health and family occupation synonymous?
  • What are the next steps in construct testing?

Comments

Research paper

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Oct 5th, 1:00 PM Oct 5th, 1:30 PM

Families with Children with Autism: An Exploration of Family Health

Purpose/hypothesis: Central to child health is family health. Behaviors of children diagnosed with autism often pose a threat to family health. Families raising children with autism have expressed social isolation and the needs of the child take priority over the needs of the family; thus the very mechanism that is required to mediate all other interventions is at risk. The recurrent disruptions in family rituals and routines can be linked to instability in family health, resulting in substantial physical, social, emotional and financial costs affecting both family and child. The purpose of this study was to explicate the perceptions of what represents family health in these families.

Methods: This study used participatory research methodology, specifically phenomenological approach to photovoice, to capture the essence of family health for families raising children with autism and to illuminate their perceptions of their family’s health. Thirty families were recruited for the study and consented to in-depth interviewing inquiring about family health, life, routines and rituals. Families were trained and instructed on the data gathering procedures used for photovoice and recorded instances, situations and events of family health. The families completed the Family Routines Inventory, the Family Ritual Questionnaire and a demographic survey. Phenomenological, iconographic and descriptive analyses were used across and within data points/sources.

Discussions/Conclusions: Results of this study contributed to the building of the construct of family health, explicating the essential characteristics of family health specifically including family rituals and togetherness.

Questions for discussion:

  • Are family health and family occupation synonymous?
  • What are the next steps in construct testing?