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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Autism Dads

 In The Politics of AutismI discuss the role of families.

Daniel J. Laxman and colleagues have an article at Maternal and Child Health Journal titled "Father Involvement and Maternal Depressive Symptoms in Families of Children with Disabilities or Delays."
This study examined the longitudinal association between fathers’ early involvement in routine caregiving, literacy, play, and responsive caregiving activities at 9 months and maternal depressive symptoms at 4 years. Data for 3,550 children and their biological parents were drawn from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort data set. Analyses in a structural equation modeling framework examined whether the association between father involvement and maternal depressive symptoms differed for families of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and for families of children with other disabilities or delays from families of children who were typically developing. Results indicated that father literacy and responsive caregiving involvement were associated with lower levels of depressive symptoms for mothers of children with ASD. These findings indicate that greater father involvement may benefit families of children with ASD and highlight the need to support and encourage service providers to work with fathers.
From the article:
The findings of this study have important implications for policy makers and early intervention service providers. That greater father involvement was associated with better outcomes for maternal well-being underscores the need to develop focused programs to encourage fathers to be involved with their children with disabilities or delays, specifically children with ASD. Furthermore, service providers can be encouraged to engage fathers while providing early intervention services. Service providers can be supported in engaging fathers by being provided with training opportunities and other resources they need to work with fathers. Promoting father involvement is one way that practitioners and policy makers may promote maternal well-being and positive family outcomes through encouraging fathers to be more involved in effective ways.