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Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Black Single Female Caregivers

 In The Politics of Autism, I write about the everyday experiences of autistic youths and caregivers.

At SSM - Qualitative Research in Health, Jennifer S. Singh has an article titled "Intersectional analysis of autism service inequities: Narratives of Black single female caregivers."

Despite the wide range of research on autism disparities in early identification, diagnosis, and access to services in racial and ethnic minorities in the United States compared to White children, few studies focus distinctly on the experiences of Black single female caregivers of children with autism. The dominant research and cultural narrative of White, married, and upper-middle-class families of a child with autism devalues the standpoint and experiences of caregivers whose social and economic position situates their differential experience of raising a child with a disability. Based on a narrative analysis of three Black single female caregivers who have a child diagnosed with autism and rely on Medicaid health insurance in the southern United States, this study offers an intersectional analysis of autism service inequities in diagnosis and services driving evident disparities based on race, gender, and social class. The analysis highlights intersecting ideological, political, and economic domains and associated institutions (i.e., education, employment, housing, and governing laws) that reflect and shape these narratives of autism service inequities. This study re-centers much-needed attention to the silent voices of Black single female caregivers made invisible in the structure of our society and offers a way forward by thinking critically about universal systems of care that can benefit all people.

From the article:

One important finding of this narrative analysis was the effects of caregiving on the mental and physical health of Black single caregivers raising a child with autism. This finding was also evident in the larger sample (Hong & Singh, 2019). While there is limited research in this area, especially among minority caregivers, population-based research indicates that the burden and stress on caregivers have a greater physical impact (i.e., more chronic illnesses and functional limitations) for Black mothers (Lee et al., 2022). Future research in this area is needed to investigate the long-term physical and mental impacts of structural inequities on parenting a child with autism at the intersection of race, class, and gender.