UC Santa Barbara
Being Whole Together: A Study of Blended Family Life on the Spectrum
- Author(s): Ente, Angela P.
- Advisor(s): Singer, George HS
- et al.
Almost nothing was known about the process of family formation among remarried families of children with autism. In this qualitative interview study, a cohort of five remarried couples, three stepparents, one biological parent, and one grandparent were interviewed to determine what adaptations occur during the process of family formation and maintenance in remarried families of children with autism. Variables assessing family stress and adaptation were used to determine what sustainable accommodations were made by families to fit the unique needs of their children all while dealing with the usual difficulties of being a blended family. Interviews were audio recorded and transcribed. Using grounded theory methods, the author analyzed the transcriptions to determine common themes, which were found to be: (a) development of parenting roles; (b) adjusting to problem behavior; (c) developing family routines; (d) services and community resources; and (e) resilience in parenting. Remarried families coordinate their parenting efforts by how they manage the nonnormative demands of parenting a child with autism and work together to produce sustainable accommodations for the child.