Purpose: In less affluent countries with scarce professional resources, the mutual support from family and other parents may form the main assistance available to parents of childrenwith developmental disabilities. However, few studies have attempted to promote mutual support among parents. Method: 28 mothers and fathers who attended a group-based training course on autism spectrum disorders were followed up after 12 months. Qualitative and quantitative data on parental wellbeing were gathered at three time points: before, 3 months after the course and then again 12 months later. Results: Eight parents(@ 30%) maintained contact with one another over the year and this grouping provided a natural experiment with those who had no further contact. All parents maintained improvements on self-rated health and family functioning but these tended to be greater for those who had maintained contact with one another. The post-training gains on parental stress had reverted to baseline levels for both groups. Conclusions: Despite opportunities to do so, most of these Iranian parents chose not to seek support from other families which may reflect cultural dispositions. Those that did so, found the contact beneficial although further training may assist with daily stresses of parenting a child with autism spectrum disorders.
McConkey, R., & Samadi, S. A. (2013). The impact of mutual support on Iranian parents of children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder: A longitudinal study. DISABILITY AND REHABILITATION, 35(9), 775-784. https://doi.org/10.3109/09638288.2012.707744