A Phenomenological Analysis of the Expansive Roles and Nuanced Attunement Experienced by Mothers of Young Children on the Autism Spectrum
The prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) has significantly increased over the past two decades with the Centers for Disease Control (2016) estimating that 1 in 54 children with the birth year 2008 are now diagnosed with ASD. While there exists a robust amount of research, it remains to be mostly quantitative in nature and based on the treatment of the individual. More attention needs to be focused on the qualitative nature and dynamic roles of the relationship between primary caregiver and a child with ASD. Current research has found that mothers raising a child with ASD experience poorer health and wellbeing then mothers of children with other disabilities or typically developing children (Safe et al., 2012). Despite this knowledge few studies have been conducted to examine how the mother and child relationship is influenced by the increased responsibilities of raising a child with autism. The primary purpose of this study was to examine the lived experience of mothers raising a child with autism. This dissertation incorporated the use of both role and attachment theory as a conceptual framework to guide the study. Participant children were ages 5–8 and the focus became the relationship between the mother child dyad through the lens of attunement. The theme of nuanced attunement provided a clearer conceptualization of the dyad as well as the expansive roles these mothers play in their neurodiverse child’s life. Mothers participated in two separate ZOOM interviews where they were asked open-ended questions about their experience in raising their child on the spectrum as well as their experiences within the educational, medical and service systems. The results of the study provided an outcome of many compelling themes that speak to these mothers experiences and challenges. Implications for the study and future research are also discussed.
Social work|Disability studies|Individual & family studies
Norberto, Anne Marie, "A Phenomenological Analysis of the Expansive Roles and Nuanced Attunement Experienced by Mothers of Young Children on the Autism Spectrum" (2022). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI29211245.