Studies conducted on families of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) indicate that the period following the child’s diagnosis can be challenging, especially for immigrant families. Indeed, they tend to have additional difficulties in accessing and using ASD diagnosis and early intervention services. To date, few studies have contrasted the experiences of immigrant and native families.
During the period following their child’s ASD diagnosis, 104 immigrant and Canadian-born mothers and fathers completed the Beach Center FQOL Scale and provided ratings of perceived support.
Immigrant families were less satisfied with their FQOL than Canadian-born parents, but no gender differences were observed. However, gender and immigration-status related patterns emerged with respect to the relative importance and satisfaction levels across dimensions of FQOL. Additionally, fewer immigrant families reported having access to external support, a predictor of FQOL, than Canadian families.
Although no statistically significant gender differences emerged, patterns in the data suggest that each parent may benefit from different services. Overall, these findings highlight the importance of developing programs that take into account parents’ gender and cultural background and provide means of developing external support networks.