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Collaboration between Professionals and Parents of Children on the Autism Spectrum in the Swedish Early Intervention System. A Qualitative Case Study.

Conference contribution
Authors Pia Lorinser
Thomas Barow
Published in Book of Abstracts
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Education and Special Education
Language en
Links https://alterconf2019.sciencesconf....
Keywords early support; parents; collaboration; autism; empowerment; capability approach
Subject categories Educational Sciences, Pedagogical Work, Social welfare/social pedagogics


As widely excepted, a high degree of social participation and quality of life for children with disability requires collaborative partnerships and a shared responsibility of parents and professionals. Parents advocating their children´s rights play an essential role in the provision of habilitation services. However, cooperation between professionals and parents can be a challenging task in the field of work with families that have a child with disability. This study aims to explore the collaboration between parents and professionals and the kind of assistance given in the Swedish early intervention practice from a parental point of view. By gaining a deeper understanding of the families´ needs for support, one can develop different ways in supporting families, here exemplified by children with a diagnosis in the field of autism spectrum disorder. An empowerment perspective that emphazises the families´ capabilities forms the theoretical framework of the research (Askheim & Starrin; Keupp; Nussbaum). Five parents from different Swedish regions participated separately in semi-structured in-depth interviews. The results reveal that parents expect professionals to provide expertise in autism and appropriate habilitation practices. Simultaneously, they express a wish for output orientated methods, by adapting the interventions to the family´s personal needs. Moreover, parents raise important issues such as parent support and siblings groups, options for psychosocial counselling for all members of the family and the need of a contact person. Discussed in the context of empowerment, the results show that engaging parents´ capabilities to deal with their life situation plays an important role in collaborative processes. In conclusion, the individuality of the child and their family is as deeply anchored in the Swedish early intervention system as adapting practical support to the family´s actual living conditions and environment.

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