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Families in a state of flux: The experience of grandparents in autism spectrum disorder

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Ann Le Couteur


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Background: The experience of being a grandparent of a grandchild with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a previously under-researched area. This study sets out to examine the grandparents' own perspective in an exploratory way using a qualitative approach to answer the question, 'What is the experience like?'. Method: A qualitative research project, using a purposive sampling technique and semi-structured interviews to examine the experiences of six grandparents of children with ASD diagnosed by a specialist team in a second opinion Tier 4 Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service. Res ults: The experiences of the grandparents were characterized by three Key Themes which emerged from the interviews: (1) The Parental Bond (protective bonding towards grandchild and adult child); (2) Striving for Answers (searching for meaning); (3) Keeping Intact (holding the family together). Conclusion: The study suggests some inte resting insights and confirms the need for more attention to this area. A key question raised by the study is how a child-focused multidisciplinary team can embrace its role in delivering a family-centred service. The clinical implications of this project have led to a change of practice in the specialist team. Further research would be appropriate to investigate the therapeutic effectiveness and cost effectiveness of involving grandparents as part of the assessment process. © 2006 The Authors; Journal compilation © 2006 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Margetts JK, Le Couteur AS, Croom S

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Child: Care, Health and Development

Year: 2006

Volume: 32

Issue: 5

Pages: 565-574

ISSN (print): 0305-1862

ISSN (electronic): 1365-2214

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell


DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2214.2006.00671.x


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