Parenting a Child With Autism in India: Narratives Before and After a Parent-Child Intervention Program

Cult Med Psychiatry. 2015 Jun;39(2):277-98. doi: 10.1007/s11013-015-9434-y.

Abstract

In many low and middle income countries where autism-related resources are scarce, interventions must rely on family and parents. A 3-month Parent-Child Training Program (PCTP) at Action For Autism, New Delhi, India is aimed at empowering and educating parents, encouraging acceptance of their child, and decreasing parent stress. Forty couples were asked to describe their child with autism using the Five Minute Speech Sample (FMSS), an open-ended narrative method, before and after the program. Parents described a wide range of child behaviors, primarily social and cognitive skills. While all families were of a relatively affluent strata compared to the general Indian population, there were nonetheless significant differences in parents' narratives based on their income levels. Coming into the program, parents with relatively less income focused on their child's immediate and material needs, while higher income parents discussed their parental roles and vision for society. After the PCTP, parents were more likely to reflect on their child beyond comparisons to 'normality,' and beyond the here-and-now. Mothers were more likely than fathers to reflect on themselves and their relationships with their child. Understanding parents' experiences and narratives is essential for the evaluation of interventions such as the PCTP, as Indian parents are incorporated into a growing global network of 'parents of children with autism.'

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Family Therapy / methods*
  • Humans
  • India / ethnology
  • Parent-Child Relations / ethnology*
  • Parenting / ethnology*
  • Personal Narratives as Topic*
  • Social Class*