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The study aimed to determine the social and personal sufferings that were experienced by family members who were taking care of children living with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The researchers asserted that 1 in every 110 children was diagnosed with ASD in the US alone, in 2010 (Nealy, O’Hare, Powers & Swick, 2012). The study also raised an alarm on the high number of persons who were suffering from ASD in the US. It was stated that about 730,000 young persons were suffering from ASD while 36,500 new cases were anticipated annually.
Although ASD was a major public health problem, no previous study had attempted to understand the social and personal problems that were experienced by families. The study researchers aimed to understand the sufferings so that they could propose for the development of resources to help family members taking care of children with ASD. The study researchers established the significance of the study by outlining the social and financial implications of taking care of children with ASD. The study established that taking care of children with ASD caused financial, social, emotional, and family impacts. The clinical problem also caused worry, stress, guilt, and spouse problems in families with children suffering from ASD.
Purpose and research questions
The study purposed to determine the gap in the literature and establish the effects of raising a child with ASD on families with the goal of proposing appropriate resources for supporting the families (Nealy et al., 2012). The study attempted to answer the following questions:
- In what ways has your child’s ASD condition impacted you most?
- What barriers have you been experiencing in accessing your child’s healthcare?
- Has your child’s condition affected other children emotionally in the family?
- Has your child’s ASD problem affected your family relationships?
- What are the most needs required by your child with ASD?
- What kind of support could you require so that you could raise your child without straining socially and financially?
The purpose of the study and research questions were related to the problem highlighted in the study. Thus, the problem was addressed by answering the research questions. Research suggests that studies have to be designed in such a way that the purpose and research questions are related to the problem (Burns & Grove, 2010). The study used questionnaires, and personal interviews to collect data which were then analyzed. The qualitative methods were appropriate to answer the research question.
The study cited both qualitative and quantitative studies essential to the focus of the study. Most of the citations used in the study were within 5 years after publication. Only two sources were older than the 5-year limit (Nealy et al., 2012). The study did not indicate the weaknesses of the available studies. Evaluation of weaknesses in previous studies is essential when arguing a case for a research study (Burns & Grove, 2010). The study provided adequate information upon which a logical argument was built. However, the author did not provide a specific perspective from which the study was developed. Although the study used a qualitative method of study, it did not provide a framework or diagrams from the study findings. It has been suggested that qualitative research studies should use findings to develop diagrams or conceptual/theoretical frameworks (Holloway, 2009; Burns & Grove, 2010).
Burns, N., & Grove, S. K. (2011). Understanding nursing research: Building an evidence-based practice (5th ed.). Amsterdam, Netherlands: Elsevier Health Sciences.
Holloway, I. (2009). Qualitative research in nursing and healthcare. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley. com.
Nealy, C. E., O’Hare, L., Powers, J. D., & Swick, D. C. (2012). The Impact of Autism Spectrum Disorders on the Family: A Qualitative Study of Mothers’ Perspectives. Journal of Family Social Work, 15(3), 187-201.