Dinnertime and bedtime in families with a young child with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Marquenie, Kylie, Rodger, Sylvia, Mangohig, Kim and Cronin, Anne (2011) Dinnertime and bedtime in families with a young child with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Australian Occupational Therapy Journal, 58 3: 145-154. doi:10.1111/j.1440-1630.2010.00896.x


Author Marquenie, Kylie
Rodger, Sylvia
Mangohig, Kim
Cronin, Anne
Title Dinnertime and bedtime in families with a young child with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Journal name Australian Occupational Therapy Journal   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0045-0766
1440-1630
Publication date 2011-06-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/j.1440-1630.2010.00896.x
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 58
Issue 3
Start page 145
End page 154
Total pages 10
Place of publication Richmond, VIC, Australia
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Asia
Language eng
Subject 3609 Occupational Therapy
Abstract Routines are thought to be critical in laying the foundation for ritual development, and in turn rituals are considered important for forming a strong and healthy family unit. This article provides a description of the experiences of dinnertime and bedtime routines and rituals in Australian families with a young child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), as well as common challenges experienced.

Fourteen Australian mothers with a young child with an ASD between the ages of two and five years were interviewed about their performance of dinnertime and bedtime routines and rituals and their perceptions of both occupations. Descriptive qualitative interviews were audio taped and transcribed. Transcripts were analysed using thematic content analysis.

Two overarching themes emerged, including 'centred on ASD' and 'ASD alters meaning'. Mothers' descriptions revealed that families with a young child with an ASD experienced unstructured and chaotic routines at dinnertime. In contrast, bedtime involved the performance of more structured, and at times, non-functional routines. Moreover, dinnertime was bereft of meaningful interactions and rituals, whereas bedtime contained some positive meaningful interactions and rituals.

Occupational therapists need to consider supporting mothers and the child with an ASD in enhancing their participation within all aspects of family life, by encouraging them to develop structured and more predictable dinnertime and bedtime routines inclusive of all family members. In doing so, this action will support mothers to develop a strong and cohesive family unit.
Formatted abstract
Background/aim:  Routines are thought to be critical in laying the foundation for ritual development, and in turn rituals are considered important for forming a strong and healthy family unit. This article provides a description of the experiences of dinnertime and bedtime routines and rituals in Australian families with a young child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), as well as common challenges experienced.
Methods:  Fourteen Australian mothers with a young child with an ASD between the ages of two and five years were interviewed about their performance of dinnertime and bedtime routines and rituals and their perceptions of both occupations. Descriptive qualitative interviews were audio taped and transcribed. Transcripts were analysed using thematic content analysis.
Results:  Two overarching themes emerged, including ‘centred on ASD’ and ‘ASD alters meaning’. Mothers’ descriptions revealed that families with a young child with an ASD experienced unstructured and chaotic routines at dinnertime. In contrast, bedtime involved the performance of more structured, and at times, non-functional routines. Moreover, dinnertime was bereft of meaningful interactions and rituals, whereas bedtime contained some positive meaningful interactions and rituals.
Conclusions:  Occupational therapists need to consider supporting mothers and the child with an ASD in enhancing their participation within all aspects of family life, by encouraging them to develop structured and more predictable dinnertime and bedtime routines inclusive of all family members. In doing so, this action will support mothers to develop a strong and cohesive family unit.
Keyword ASD
Early intervention
Qualitative research
Rituals
Routines
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2012 Collection
School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences Publications
 
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 29 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 34 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Mon, 03 Oct 2011, 22:18:07 EST by Professor Sylvia Rodger on behalf of School of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences