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Autism spectrum disorders, family life and short breaks: an investigation into the experience of family life and short breaks of families that have children with autism spectrum disorders in an English county

Preece, David Ross (2010)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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Research was undertaken in an English shire county, investigating the experience of families that have children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) regarding daily life and their attitudes and experience concerning short breaks (‘respite care’). The research comprised three phases: a postal survey of 256 families, a survey of 27 social workers, and semi-structured interviews carried out with mothers, fathers, siblings and children with ASD from 14 families. The research identified the significant impact of ASD on family life. Differing key themes emerged within mothers’, fathers’, siblings’ and children with ASD’s narratives. Benefits and shortcomings of short breaks were identified and quality indicators were suggested in a number of key areas: organisational, environmental, staff-, child- and family-related and psychological. Factors associated with short breaks use included family attitudes and values, information, service shortfall, family adaptation, child’s age, diagnosis and school placement and allocation to a social worker. Social workers were identified as having inconsistent and at times incorrect understandings of ASD; the factors associated with access to services were mediated by the views of the social worker involved. An interactive, systemic model, derived from the analysis, is suggested as helpful in understanding interplay between families, social workers and service providers.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Jordan, Rita and Guldberg, Karen
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
Department:School of Education
Subjects:HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:1042
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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