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01-08-2015 | Original Paper | Uitgave 8/2015

Journal of Child and Family Studies 8/2015

Quality Determinants of Services for Parents of Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 8/2015
Mélina Rivard, Anabel Lépine, Céline Mercier, Marjorie Morin


This study examined how the parents of young children with autism spectrum disorders perceive the quality determinants of services provided to them in the context of a public network of services. The perceptions of 176 families who were receiving, or had received, specialized services for at least 12 months and were living in urban, suburban, and rural areas were investigated on three fronts: the relative importance of four determinants of quality, their degree of realization, and parents’ satisfaction relative to these determinants. These determinants were the accessibility, continuity and flexibility of services, as well as the validity of information provided. Parents felt that the accessibility, continuity and flexibility of services were the most important determinants of quality. However, continuity and accessibility were also perceived as being the least realized. Parents were more satisfied with the validity of information and the flexibility of services than with their continuity and accessibility. These response patterns were observed consistently among parents from urban, suburban, and rural areas, with the exception that rural residents were less satisfied with the continuity of services. Such results emphasize the importance of examining perceived quality from a dynamic perspective. Indeed, the complex relationships that may exist between different aspects of quality, parents’ expectations and concerns, along with the actual service delivery conditions, must be taken into account. Our findings also provide an incentive to pursue the development and implementation of evidence-based innovative practices to enhance the integration of services.

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