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Journal of Ethnographic & Qualitative Research


Mothers’ views of their experiences with their child with high functioning autism (HFA) have not been thoroughly investigated in previous research. Thirty mothers of children with high functioning autism participated in a semi-structured interview in the present qualitative study. The collected data were generally coded into five broad categories: diagnosis, intervention, social dynamics, advocacy, and coping skills. Diagnosis of HFA typically was not made until ages nine to 13. The participants created individualized interventions that were reality and strengths-based. Social dynamics included both the child’s social interactions with peers and the social dynamics within the family system. The participants related having to advocate for their children with HFA with school, social service, and medical professionals. The participating mothers also found their own techniques for coping. The present study provides insights into mothers’ experiences with each of these areas that would be useful for professionals to understand when working with families who have children with HFA.

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