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Aust J Rural Health. 2013 Jun;21(3):178-82. doi: 10.1111/ajr.12030.

Embracing autism in Canadian rural communities.

Author information

  • 1Faculty of Nursing, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. umhoogsl@cc.umanitoba.ca

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

The purpose of this study was to explore the lived experience of Canadian parents living in rural areas who were parenting a child with autism.

DESIGN:

A phenomenological design described by van Manen was applied to guide this study.

SETTING:

This study took place in rural communities of Western Canada.

PARTICIPANTS:

Purposive sampling was used to recruit 26 families parenting a child with autism in rural communities. Participants ranged in age from 26 to 50 years old and lived an average of 197 kilometres away from an urban city.

INTERVENTIONS:

Parents of children with autism took part in audio-taped, in-depth interviews. A total of 26 open-ended interviews were completed over four months with an average of 83 minutes per interview.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

All interviews and field notes were transcribed verbatim and analyzed using van Manen's selective highlighting approach.

RESULTS:

When describing the characteristics of living rurally while parenting a child with autism, parents reported that the rural community had (i) less of everything, (ii) safety and familiarity, and (iii) a family of support. Parents believed that although there were disadvantages to living in a rural community, parents felt isolated in terms of services but not in terms of the support received by the community.

CONCLUSION:

The results of this study add to our knowledge of parenting experiences with attention to the rural experience and furthermore, recommendations for nurses and health care professionals were provided.

© 2013 The Authors. Australian Journal of Rural Health © National Rural Health Alliance Inc.

PMID:
23782286
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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