Autism and the experiences of immigrant and culturally diverse families accessing behavioral interventions
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The current study investigates the cultural appropriateness of the delivery of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) to immigrant and culturally diverse families of children with autism. Due to the tensions that culture and value differences could generate, there is a need to question the cultural appropriateness ABA delivery to culturally diverse families of children with autism, whose worldviews and values are relatively different from Western values and cultural beliefs. The aim of the study is to contribute to a developing knowledge base on how ABA can be delivered effectively to immigrant and culturally diverse families of children with autism. Five families were recruited to participate in a semi-structured interview. Although participants prioritized their child’s educational and developmental needs over their socio-cultural needs, findings from the study revealed that ABA interventions could be adapted to meet the peculiar needs of culturally diverse families. The study also revealed some systemic barriers to successful parental engagement in ABA interventions, including delayed diagnosis, limited program capacity, age restrictions and complicated referral processes. Recommendations were made towards improving the experience of ABA interventions for the target population including parental capacity building, expansion of service alternatives, resources, and support for families.
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