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Title:Family empowerment: the use of online parent discussion groups following diagnosis of ASD in young children
Author(s):Jeans, Laurie
Director of Research:Santos Gilbertz, Rosa Milagros
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Santos Gilbertz, Rosa Milagros
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Fowler, Susan A.; McBride, Brent A.; Hughes, Mary-Alayne
Department / Program:Special Education
Discipline:Special Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):autism spectrum disorder
online parent groups
preschool children
framework analysis
Abstract:The overarching purpose of this research study was to examine the usefulness of online discussion groups for mothers and fathers of young children (prior to the entry in kindergarten) with an autism spectrum disorder. Over a 12 week time period, parents (15 mothers and 7 fathers) participated in gender-divided online discussion groups. Three online surveys were used to determine discussion topics of importance, to identify services and supports already accessed, and to report parent satisfaction in participation. Fathers and mothers identified similar topic choices for discussion although mothers indicated sleeping and toilet training as higher priorities than fathers. Similarities and differences were identified between the parent groups in their styles of discussion postings. Fathers engaged in more lurking (viewing without posting) behavior and only mothers used emotional support statements (indicating understanding and sympathy) and esteem supportive-compliments in their discussions. New subthemes of Sharing Statements-Information, Sharing Statements-Questions, and Building Relationships through Humor emerged. Mothers found the online discussion groups more useful than fathers, but both indicated they would recommend online discussion groups such as this one. The access to new ideas, the presence of others in a shared situation, and a sense of belonging to a supportive community were reasons mothers found participation useful. Fathers noted the access to others’ perspectives and contact with others sharing the same challenges as reasons the online groups were useful. Limitations of the study and implications for research and practice are discussed.
Issue Date:2013-08-22
Rights Information:Copyright 2013 Laurie Marie Jeans
Date Available in IDEALS:2013-08-22
Date Deposited:2013-08

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