Wonders and Worries of Parenting a Child With Asperger Syndrome & Nonverbal Learning Disorder

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Abstract

PURPOSE:

To describe the prevalent joys and pressing concerns of parents of children with Asperger syndrome (AS) and nonverbal learning disorder (NLD).

DESIGN AND METHODS:

An exploratory study of written responses of 103 matched couples from survey data gathered in a larger study that examined the parental experiences of raising a child with AS and NLD. Participants were recruited from two national Internet Web sites for parents of children with AS and NLD. Data were qualitatively analyzed to develop categories and themes.

RESULTS:

Prevalent joys of mothers and fathers included child characteristics such as personality traits of the child, observing their child happy, and watching him/her grow, mature, and succeed. Parents’ most pressing worries focused on adulthood and the future of their child.

CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS:

The findings of this study can inform the care given by nurses in the pediatric, family, and mental health settings. Family nurses are in a unique position to assess and respond to the special adaptive needs of families of children with learning disorders such as AS/NLD. As part of routine health screening and well-child visits, providers can ask about the joys and assess the beliefs and worries parents have; this could lead to reinforcement of their strengths and motivations and better meeting of their needs.

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