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The experiences of mothers of children with autism spectrum disorder: Managing family routines and mothers health and wellbeing
School of Occupational Therapy, Social Work and Speech Pathology, Faculty of Health Sciences, Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia, Australia; School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.
Allied Health and Social Sciences, Institute of Health and Society, University of Worcester, Worcester, UK.
School of Occupational Therapy, Social Work and Speech Pathology, Faculty of Health Sciences, Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia, Australia.
Linköping University, Department of Medical and Health Sciences, Division of Community Medicine. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Region Östergötland, Anaesthetics, Operations and Specialty Surgery Center, Pain and Rehabilitation Center. School of Occupational Therapy, Social Work and Speech Pathology, Faculty of Health Sciences, Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia, Australia.
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2019 (English)In: Australian Occupational Therapy Journal, ISSN 0045-0766, E-ISSN 1440-1630, Vol. 66, no 1, p. 68-76Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background/aim

Families of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) use family routines to provide predictability and structure to support occupational engagement of their family members. Mothers assume the major role to orchestrate occupations in constructing family routines, which may impact their health and wellbeing. However, the experiences of mothers in managing family routines and their health and wellbeing have not been the main focus in previous research. Thus, this study explored the experiences of mothers of children with ASD in managing family routines and their perceptions of the impact of family routines on their health and wellbeing.

Methods

An interpretive phenomenological approach was used. Twenty mothers of children with ASD, aged between 28 and 56 years, participated in semi‐structured interviews. Data were transcribed verbatim and each transcript was analysed.

Results

Five themes that summarise mothers’ perceptions towards health and wellbeing when managing family routines emerged: (i) Keeping on track keeping healthy; (ii) My life is busy, because I do everything for everyone else; (iii) Keeping on track all the time is tiring or frustrating; (iv) Looking after my family by looking after myself; and (v) I am not perfect and it is OK.

Conclusion

This study highlighted the substantial efforts required in constructing family routines that may be at the cost of mothers’ health and wellbeing. However, mothers may be able to cope with everyday demands in managing family routines by changing their perspectives. By integrating ‘me‐time’ activities in family routines, mothers may be able to support their own health and wellbeing. Mothers’ values and needs are reflected in family routines; hence, thorough understanding of family routines may be a key to support mothers’ occupational engagement.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Wiley-Blackwell, 2019. Vol. 66, no 1, p. 68-76
Keywords [en]
child developmental disorders pervasive; mothers; parents of disabled children; routines and qualitative studies
National Category
Occupational Therapy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-156012DOI: 10.1111/1440-1630.12524ISI: 000457755700009PubMedID: 30264526Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85053899946OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-156012DiVA, id: diva2:1301619
Available from: 2019-04-02 Created: 2019-04-02 Last updated: 2019-06-28Bibliographically approved

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Falkmer, Torbjörn

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