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American Psychological Association

Source Publication

Families, Systems, & Health

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The purpose of this study was to explore the experience of accessing autism diagnosis and resources in a Midwest urban public school district for diverse mothers of children with autism spectrum disorder. Method: We employed thematic analysis using narrative inquiry methodology to analyze the data from 9 mothers (n = 5 African American, n = 2 Hispanic, and n = 2 White) who participated in a focus group. Results: Three themes were identified by the researchers: (a) late medical diagnosis (subthemes: problems that parents didn’t perceive as signs of autism spectrum disorder, making comparisons to other siblings or children), (b) negative communication experiences (subthemes: husband and wife, parent and educational professionals), and (c) coping strategies (subthemes: resources, prayer). Discussion: The mothers’ narratives indicated a strong need for advocacy and parent–school partnership.


Accepted version. Families, Systems, & Health, Vol. 38, No. 3 (September 2020): 255-264. DOI. © 2020 American Psychiatric Association. Used with permission.

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