Children with autism and their socialization, the reported experiences of mothers

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Caponetto-Valentie, Paola
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The research on the deficits in the social interaction of children with autism has focused mainly on quantitative and qualitative measures in artificial environments. These deficits are not well understood. The purpose of this qualitative study was to gain a better understanding of the social development of children with autism through an exploration of the reports of the experiences and perspectives of these children's mothers. Five mothers volunteered to participate in the study. Four mothers individually and one with her husband, were each interviewed for approximately two hours. Three main themes were found: (I) Mothers' experiences coping with autism and their children's social deficits affect how they first come to view and relate to the children; (II) Mothers' perspectives on their children's characteristic ways of relating provide deep insights into these children's social deficits and the contexts in which those deficits occur; (III) Mothers, through their special relationship with the children have learned effective strategies to facilitate the social interactions and integration of their children. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)