| Published: June 25, 2016
Coping Mechanisms and Parental Relationship in the Families of a Child with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a pervasive developmental disorder, which, with increased awareness, is now diagnosed early and with greater accuracy in India. This study aims to assess the coping mechanisms and parental relationship in families with a child having ASD. In depth interviews were conducted for 10 families with 4 members each (n = 40). The interviews contained questions for investigating the coping mechanisms, relationship between the parents and the sibling of the child with ASD, separately interviewing the mother, father and the typically developing sibling. The key findings of the interview suggested that the families depended on household help and gathering information on the internet, which, instead of serving as the coping mechanism it was intended to be, led to increased stress for the parents. Other methods included advice and help from professionals and spiritual methods like reading scriptures, family support and the support of the society. The acceptance of the diagnosis and general optimism, along with having specific responses for aberrant behavior defined by the professional were found to be the most effective coping mechanisms for the families. The relationship between parents was stressed in almost all cases, but the families which accepted the diagnosis early and sought the help of professionals, consequently, had a much better and complementary relationship. The families also relied on the typically developing sibling for the care of the autistic child. The relationship between the sibling and the child with ASD was close and the elder sibling, if female, also took on a maternal role in some cases in the caretaking of the child. In the case of male elder sibling, the relationship was close but there was lesser delegation of responsibility for the autistic child by parents.
This is an Open Access Research distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any Medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
© 2016 I S Gour, N Pandey
Received: April 10, 2016; Revision Received: May 12, 2016; Accepted: June 25, 2016
Published in Volume 03, Issue 3, April-June, 2016