Titre : An Analysis of the Support Needs of Fathers Living with a Child with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Objectives: The goal of this presentation is to present a portion of the results collected as part of a master’s level research project in social work. This research project focussed on the comparisons between the needs of parental figures of children with ASD between 5-12 years of age. The participants were encouraged to express their needs for support as a parent and as a partner in a couple. This presentation will focus mainly on the support needs of fathers and stepfathers.
Methods: A review of the publications on the parental need for support allowed for particularities related to the father’s experience to come out. Next, four fathers and one step father were invited to share their perspectives during focus group (n=3) or individual interview (n=2). Qualitative data were treated following Paillé et Mucchielli (2016) directives for thematic content analysis.
Results: All fathers indicate their limited knowledge about services offered to families. They claimed that it was the spouse who usually sought the services available. Fathers tend to be very preoccupied about schooling and socialisation of the child. They would like to have more strategies to support the development of the autonomy of their child. They wish to participate in more social activities and hobbies as well as to rest. Finally, the fathers mentioned a desire to attend practical training sessions on ASD. They prefer training that is more practical than theoretical.
Conclusions: A better understanding of the needs of fathers and stepfathers involved in families of a child with ASD is essential for optimising the practices of professionals who are also involved in daily life. Future research should look to developing how services can be adapted to support the reality of fathers and stepfathers.