Autistic Parents’ Personal Experiences of Parenting and Support: Messages from an Online Focus Group

Se Kwang Hwang*, Philip Heslop

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Social work with autistic adults should be operated within principles of personalisation and strength-based approach. While many parents are diagnosed on the autistic spectrum as adults, their needs, different parenting styles and capabilities have been often misunderstood, or seldom respected by professionals. To address this gap, this study explored autistic parents’ experiences of parenting and support. In order to examine ‘real-life’ through the parent’s own points of view, an online focus group was used to explore seven autistic parents’ own perspectives and experiences. Data were analysed via thematic techniques. This study found that the parents claimed that autism may not impact always on their parenting capacity, and, when it does, they can succeed in raising their children, especially their autistic children, if they are provided with appropriate support services. But their parenting style and capabilities were misunderstood by professionals who used traditional pathologising assumptions on parental capacity. This study concluded that dismantling stereotypical norms of autism and lack of knowledge of autism within professionals is needed to change to properly assess autistic parent’s needs and their capacity using strength-based approach.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberbcac133
JournalThe British Journal of Social Work
Early online date28 Jul 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Jul 2022


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