Research

The views and knowledge of parents of children with autism spectrum disorder on a range of treatments

V Wetherston, S Gangat, N Shange, K Wheeler, S B Sayed Karrim, J Pahl

Abstract


Background. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that appears before the age of 3 years. Symptoms reflect delayed or abnormal social interaction and communication skills, with restricted or repetitive behaviour warranting the need for early intensive treatment.

Methods. The aim of the study was to investigate the knowledge and views of parents regarding treatments for their children, aged between 5 and 9 years old with ASD, in eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality, South Africa. An embedded mixed methods research design was utilised. Nonrandom purposive sampling was used to select 46 parents of children with ASD. A 42-item questionnaire was used and the data were interpreted using descriptive statistics and thematic analysis.

Results. More than half of the parents (53%) were unfamiliar with or had only heard of treatments in question, while 13.4% had a practical understanding of the treatments. Of all the treatments, parents rated their knowledge of speech-language therapy (SLT) most highly. The majority (68%) stated that they had difficulties accessing ASD treatment facilities and healthcare professionals, and perceived treatments as being costly. Even so, 74% of parents reported that they had a good relationship with their healthcare professional.

Conclusion. The above findings should be viewed as motivation for health professionals to share information regarding the range of ASD treatments. They can assist parents in accessing appropriate facilities, recommend treatments that are supported by research, and update their knowledge on advances in ASD treatment.


Authors' affiliations

V Wetherston, Discipline of Speech-Language Pathology, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

S Gangat, Discipline of Speech-Language Pathology, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

N Shange, Discipline of Speech-Language Pathology, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

K Wheeler, Discipline of Speech-Language Pathology, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

S B Sayed Karrim, Discipline of Speech-Language Pathology, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

J Pahl, Discipline of Speech-Language Pathology, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

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Cite this article

South African Journal of Child Health 2017;11(3):117-121. DOI:10.7196/SAJCH.2017.v11i3.1274

Article History

Date submitted: 2017-10-05
Date published: 2017-10-05

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