Many families, regardless of their ethnic and cultural background, find it challenging to raise a nonverbal child with autism. Parent-implemented behavioral interventions can contribute to positive behavior change related to joint attention, imitation, and communication. However, many parents face barriers that prevent them from implementing behavioral interventions in the home.
Very little research has been conducted on fathers of nonverbal children with autism to ascertain their perspectives on these barriers. In this qualitative study, a phenomenological design was used to obtain input from 12 fathers of diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds residing in New York City regarding barriers to implementing behavioral interventions in the home with their nonverbal child with autism.
Behavioral and humanistic theories constituted the theoretical framework. Thematic analysis resulted in the identification of themes and patterns within and across cases. Recommendations for parents and professionals include on-going in-home parent training from preschool to age 21 that focuses on acquiring instructional control over behavior and establishing effective communication with the nonverbal child with autism in the home.
Study findings may help psychologists, counselors, parents, advocates, and autism treatment organizations improve parent training and counseling methods with the goal of promoting positive therapeutic outcomes.