Snakes and Ladders: Barriers and Facilitators Experienced by Immigrant Families when Accessing an Autism Spectrum Disorder Diagnosis

Mélina Rivard, Marie Millau, Charlotte Magnan, Catherine Mello, Mélina Boulé

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

There presently exists limited information or studies on means to support immigrant families as they attempt to access quality services for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). An ASD diagnosis is the gateway to support services and adapted interventions. Yet, studies show that immigrant families typically experience longer delays in obtaining a diagnosis and more challenges in gaining access to services. Twenty-four families who immigrated to Québec (Canada) participated in semi-structured interviews in which they listed the obstacles and facilitators encountered in their service trajectory to obtain a diagnosis for their child. Families’ attitudes toward ASD, as a function of native culture, and their advice to other families in a similar situation are were also reported. Obstacles most often mentioned by participants were the waiting period for diagnostic services, feelings of social isolation, and a lack of professionals’ knowledge about ASD. Parental advocacy, the competency and expertise of the professionals who conducted the evaluation, and parental education and awareness of ASD were the most frequently named facilitators. Finally, the most common recommendations made to other parents were to be persistent and proactive. In light of these reported experiences and perceptions, a series of clinical recommendations are provided to guide ASD evaluation practices in multicultural communities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)519-539
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities
Volume31
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 15 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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