The father's experience: A South African perspective on caring for a child with autism spectrum disorder

van Rooyen, Marilet (2016-03)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2016

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT : Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder that currently affects millions of individuals and their families across the globe. This study aimed to explore the experiences of fathers of children with ASD within the South African demographic, with a focus on the challenges experienced by these fathers in their caregiving role as well as the resources they employed to cope with these challenges. The study was exploratory and qualitative in nature. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 15 fathers of children with ASD and the responses were thematically analysed. The themes that were identified through the process of thematic analysis were conceptualised in terms of Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems theory. Thematic analysis revealed both the challenges these fathers are faced with as well as resources they utilise to cope with these challenges. The challenges experienced by the study participants included lack of respite, symptomatic challenges, health related issues in the child, the diagnosis, family dynamics, uninformed general public, financial challenges and services. Contrarily, the resources fathers utilised to cope with these challenges were giving it a name, respite, support, finances, characteristics of the child, beliefs, services and adjustment over time were all resources that some or all of the fathers employed. The results of this study suggest that even though fathers experience a multitude of challenges that impact their lives significantly, they also make use of various resources to assist them in their caregiving task. The results of this study indicate that the greatest strength these fathers have is an ability to employ problem-focused coping mechanisms to cope with the challenges they face. This study provides a point of departure for future studies to further investigate the well-being of fathers caring for children with ASD.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Outisme spektrum versteuring (OSV) is ‘n ontwikkelingsgestremdheid wat tans wêreldwyd miljoene individue en hul families beïnvloed. Hierdie studie het beoog om die ervarings van pa’s van kinders met OSV in die Suid-Afrikaanse milieu te bestudeer deur te fokus op die uitdagings wat hierdie pa’s in hul rol as versorgers ervaar, asook die hulpbronne wat hulle inspan om hierdie uitdagings te hanteer. Die studie was verkennend en kwalitatief van aard. Semigestruktureerde onderhoude is met 15 pa’s van kinders met OSV gevoer en die antwoorde tematies ontleed. Die tema’s wat deur middel van tematiese analise na vore gekom het, is in terme van Bronfenbrenner se ekologiese sisteme teorie gekonseptualiseer. Tematiese analise het beide die uitdagings waarmee hierdie pa’s te doen het asook die hulpbronne tot hul beskikking ontbloot. Die verskeie uidagings wat die studiedeelnemers ervaar het is ‘n tekort aan rus, simptomatiese uitdagings, gesondheidsverwante uidagings in die kind, die diagnose, familiedinamiek, die oningeligde publiek, finansiële uitdagings en dienste. Daarteenoor om die versteuring ‘n naam te gee, rus, ondersteuning, finansies, eienskappe van die kind, geloof, dienste en aanpassing met die verloop van tyd na vore gekom as hulpbronne waarvan die pa’s gebruik maak om die uitdagins te hanteer. Die uitslae van die huidige studie dui daarop dat alhoewel pa’s ‘n verskeidenheid uitdagings wat hul lewens merkwaardig beïnvloed ervaar, hulle ook van verskeie hulpbronne gebruik maak om hul by te staan in hul rol as versorgers. Die uitslae van hierdie studie dui verder daarop dat pa’s se vermoë om van probleem-gefokusde hanteringsvaardighede gebruik te maak ‘n merkwaardige sterkpunt is en dat hul sodoende in staat is om die uitdagings waarmee hul te doen het te hanteer. Die studie dien as ‘n vertrekpunt vir toekomstige studies om die welsyn van pa’s van kinders met OSV verder te bestudeer.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/98394
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