‘We’re responsible for the diagnosis and for finding help’. The help‐seeking trajectories of families of children on the autism spectrum

21 octobre 2020

Isabelle Courcy et Catherine des Rivières‐Pigeon, Sociology fo Health and Illness, Septembre 2020

This article focuses on parents’ process of seeking help for their child when a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder is made or suspected. The study was conducted with 18 parents of children aged 4–10 years in Quebec (Canada). A trajectory‐network approach was applied in order to carry out an in‐depth analysis of family help‐seeking trajectories based on the relationships mobilised (or neglected) over time and on life course events that may have precipitated (or hindered) help‐seeking actions. Semi‐directed interviews based on a name generator were conducted. A qualitative analysis of the content of family narratives was done and followed by the production of a schematic representation of each families’ help‐seeking trajectory. The results identified four constitutive phases during which relationships within the family, within associations, or with health and social services or education professionals helped or hindered the help‐seeking process. The results show the relevance of the proposed approach for analysing the help‐seeking process and better supporting families of children on the autism spectrum.

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