Internet use among parents of children with autism spectrum disorders

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Title: Internet use among parents of children with autism spectrum disorders
Author: Nona Fain
Abstract: Parents of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD ) are uniquely stressed by the difficult behaviors of their children which often result in isolation , depression and financial burden . The causes of ASD are not well -understood but are believed to result from a complex interplay between genetic and environmental factors . There is no standard treatment protocol for ASD . Since early intervention is associated with more favorable outcomes for the child , many parents search the Internet hoping to find effective therapies and treatments . This study employed Naturalistic Inquiry methodology , as described by Lincoln and Guba (1985 ) , to explore how parents of children with ASD use the Internet , what kinds of information the parents were seeking and how they located , evaluated and chose to use ASD -related information . Twelve parents of children with ASD were interviewed for the study . Data consisted of bio -demographic information and transcribed interviews . Data was unitized and analyzed inductively ; coded descriptively , topically and analytically (Morse & Richards , 2002 ) in a recursive manner using the constant comparative method (Glaser & Strauss , 1967 ) . Rigor and data trustworthiness were enhanced by using data management and analysis strategies to ensure credibility , fittingness and auditability (Lincoln and Guba , 1985 ; Beck , 1993 ) . Findings revealed that parents searched with intensity and urgency for information about causes , treatments , how to interpret symptoms of ASD and to confirm their child’s diagnosis . They searched in response to unsatisfactory experiences with the healthcare and educational systems . Parents reported that they would like more information online about strategies to handle difficult behaviors , respite care , encouragement for daily living and how to access direct services for their children . \r \n \r \n
URI: http : / /hdl .handle .net /2152 .3 /79
Date: 2009-03-11


Internet use among parents of children with autism spectrum disorders. Doctoral dissertation, The University of Texas Medical Branch. Available electronically from http : / /hdl .handle .net /2152 .3 /79 .

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