Autism and Parenting in Different Cultures: Being the Mother of a Child With Autism in a Cultural Context

Autism and Parenting in Different Cultures: Being the Mother of a Child With Autism in a Cultural Context

Esra Macaroglu Akgul
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-7630-4.ch021
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Culture is very determinative in both the research and treatment of autism. More specifically, when parents become aware that their child is different, when the child begins special education, the developmental problems of the child and how the parents cope with the problems they encounter due to the child being different from their peers may depend on the cultural context of the place where the family lives. This chapter aims to analyze the effects of culture on children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their parents. With this purpose, how communication with the parents of children with autism changes within culture will be discussed. This chapter also analyzes the research in the literature on autism and cultural issues and how it informs us about communication with the families of special needs children.
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This chapter will be about communicating with the parents of a child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), as an example of a child with special needs in a cultural context. When a child is born, parents expect the child to meet their expectations. They generally expect a child with no differences, because different is always problematic. By the time they realize that something is not right, frustration and confusion sets in. Autism is a form of being different. The literal definition of autism will be discussed in the background section, in detail. When parents learn that their child has ASD, they go through several common emotional and psychological stages, such as denial, anger, bargain, depression, feeling of loss and despair, and then finally, acceptance. Although the feelings exhibit similarities, the literature comprises some others, such as feeling inner wealth. All of these stages may be common; however, there is one factor that effects how parents will react, and this is culture.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Culture: Characteristics and knowledge specific to a group of people that become patterns with socialization.

Autism: A neurodiversity that displays itself with a deficit in social skills and communication and repetitive and restricted behaviors and/or interests.

Parent-Professional Collaboration: Partnership between the parent of a child with special needs and professionals helping the child.

Parenting: The process of raising, protecting, and caring for a child toward healthy development.

Well-Being: Being healthy, comfortable, and happy.

Parents: Primary care givers.

Family: A social institution that plays a major role in the beliefs, values, and behavior development of individuals, such as culture.

Quality of Life: Level of wellbeing.

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