Skip to main content

The Effect of an Education Program for Mothers of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder in Jordan

Abstract

There are few support services for parents of children with a disability in Jordan. The present exploratory study investigated whether the provision of an education program in Jordan for mothers of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder increased mothers’ understanding of their child’s behaviour, improved the mothers’ coping skills, and reduced their stress levels. Following the education program, the mothers reported a statistically significant reduction in stress levels, an increase in coping skills, and an improvement in mother-child interaction. Compared to fathers, mothers’ stress levels were significantly higher and their coping skills were significantly lower. The outcomes have valuable implications for interventions for families with a child with ASD living in Jordan or in other Arabic countries.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  • Abidin, R. R. (1995). Parenting stress index: Professional manual. Odessa: Psychological Assessment Resources, Inc.

    Google Scholar 

  • Akshoomoff, N. A., & Stahmer, A. (2006). Early intervention programs and policies for children with autistic spectrum disorders. In H. E. Fitzgerald, B. M. Lester, & B. Zuckerman (Eds.), The crisis in youth mental health: Critical issues and effective programs. Vol. 1. Childhood disorders (pp. 109–131). Westport: Praeger.

    Google Scholar 

  • Aliwah, S. (1999). The effect of a training program in improving the communication skills of family with autistic child. Egypt: Tanta University.

    Google Scholar 

  • Altiere, M. J., & Kluge, S. V. (2009). Family functioning and coping behaviors in parents of children with autism. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 18, 83–92.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Amirkhan, J. H. (1990). A factor analytically derived measure of coping: the coping strategy indicator. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 59, 1066–1074.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Anderson, A., Birkin, C., Seymour, F., & Moore, D. (2006). EarlyBird evaluation: Final report. Wellington: Ministry of Education.

    Google Scholar 

  • Asaod, M. (2008). The effect of a training program in modifying parental attitudes toward their autistic children. Arbid: Yarmouk University.

    Google Scholar 

  • Australian Psychological Society (2010). Understanding and managing autism spectrum disorder. Retrieved November 10, 2010, from http://www.psychology.org.au/publications/tip_sheets/autism/.

  • Autism Academy of Jordan (2007). The definition of autism. Retrieved April 10, 2011, from http://autism-jo.com/5_1.php.

  • Autism Research Institute (2007). Defeat autism now. Retrieved April 10, 2011, from http://www.autism.com/.

  • Baird, S., & Peterson, J. (1997). Seeking a comfortable fit between family-centered philosophy and infant-parent interaction in early intervention time for a paradigm shift? Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 17(2), 139–164.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bakér-Ericzen, M. J., Brookman-Frazee, L., & Stahmer, L. (2005). Stress levels and adaptability in parents of toddlers with and without autism spectrum disorders. Research & Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities, 30, 194–204.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Binnendyk, L., & Lucyshyn, J. M. (2009). A family-centered positive behavior support approach to the amelioration of food refusal behavior. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 11, 47–62.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Birkin, C., Anderson, A., Seymour, F., & Moore, D. W. (2008). A parent-focused early intervention program for autism: who gets access? Journal of Intellectual & Developmental Disability, 33, 108–116.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Blue-Banning, M., Summers, J. A., Frankland, H. C., Nelson, L. L., & Beegle, G. (2004). Dimensions of family and professional partnerships:constructive guidelines for collaboration. Exceptional Children, 70(2), 167–184.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bromley, J., Hare, D., Davison, K., & Emerson, E. (2004). Mothers supporting children with autistic spectrum disorders: social support, mental health status and satisfaction with services. Autistim, 8(4), 409–423. doi:10.1177/1362361304047224.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Clamili, A.-F. (1988). Psychology of group therapy for children. Cairo: Dar Al Quba.

    Google Scholar 

  • Daniels, K. (1999). Coping and the job demands control-support model: an exploratory study. International Journal of Stress Management, 6, 125–144.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Davis, N., & Carter, A. (2008). Parenting stress in mothers and fathers of toddlers with autism spectrum disorders: associations with child characteristics. Journal of Autism Dev Disord, 38, 1278–1291.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Dempsey, I., & Keen, D. (2008). A review of processes and outcomes in family-centered services for children with a disability. Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 28, 42–52.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Desmond, D. M., Shevlin, M., & MacLachlan, M. (2006). Dimensional analysis of the coping strategy indicator in a sample of elderly veterans with acquired limb amputations. Personality and Individual Differences, 40, 249–259.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Dumas, J., Wolf, L., Fisman, S., & Culligan, A. (1991). Parenting stress, child behavior problems, and dysphoria in parents of children with autism, Down syndrome, behavior disorders, and normal development. Exceptionality, 2, 97–110.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Duwa, S., Wells, C., & Lalinde, P. (1993). Creating family-centered programs and policies. In D. Bryant & M. Graham (Eds.), Implementing early intervention: From research to effective practice (pp. 92–123). New York: Guilford Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ergüner-Tekinalp, B., & Akkök, F. (2004). The effects of a coping skills training program on the coping skills, hopelessness, and stress levels of mothers of children with autism. International Journal for the Advancement of Counselling, 26, 257–269.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gense, M. H., & Jay, D. G. (2005). Autism spectrum disorders and visual impairment: Meeting students’ learning needs. New York: American Foundation for the Blind Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Gross, D., Fogg, L., & Tucker, S. (1995). The efficacy of parent training for promoting positive parent—toddler relationships. Research in Nursing & Health, 18, 489–499.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Handleman, J. S., & Harris, S. L. (2008). Preschool education programs for children with autism (3rd ed.). Austin: Pro-Ed.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hardy, S. L. (1999). An evaluation of the National Autistic Society’s Earlybird Programme: Early intervention in autism through partnership with parents. Teesside: University of Teesside.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hassall, R., Rose, J., & McDonald, J. (2005). Parenting stress in mothers of children with an intellectual disability: the effects of parental cognitions in relation to child characteristics and family support. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 49, 405–418.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hastings, R. P., & Brown, T. (2002). Behavioral problems of children with autism, parental self-efficacy, and mental health. American Journal on Mental Retardation, 107, 222–232.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hastings, R., & Johnson, E. (2001). Stress in UK families conducting intensive home-based behavioral intervention for their young child with autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 31, 327–336.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Heszen-Niejodek, I. (1997). Coping style and its role in coping with stressful encounters. European Psychologist, 2, 342–351.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hollander, E. (2003). Autism spectrum disorders. New York: Marcel Dekker, Inc.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Kubow, P. K., Darabie, M., Collet, B., & Frey, C. (2009). Jordan focus group report. Bowling Green: The Center for International Comparative Education, Bowling Green State University.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kvale, S. (1996). InterViews: An introduction to qualitative research interviewing (1st ed.). Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.

    Google Scholar 

  • Lazarus, R. S. (1984). Stress, appraisal, and coping. New York: Springer Pub. Co.

    Google Scholar 

  • Liamputtong, P., & Ezzy, D. (2005). In depth interviews. Qualitative research methods (2nd ed., pp. 54–74). South Melbourne: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ludlow, A., Skelly, C., & Rohleder, P. (2011). Challenges faced by parents of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Health Psychology, 17(5), 702–711.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  • McBride, B. A. (1989). Stress and fathers’ parental competence: implications for family life and parent educators. Family Relations Issue, 38, 385–389.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Moes, D. (1995). Parent education and parenting stress. In R. L. Koegel & L. K. Koegel (Eds.), Teaching children with autism: Strategies for initiating positive interactions and improving learning opportunities (pp. 79–93). Baltimore: P.H. Brookes Pub. Co.

    Google Scholar 

  • National Research Council. (2001). Educating children with autism. Committee on educational interventions for children with autism. Division of behavioral and social sciences and education. Washington: National Academy Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Reitman, D., Currier, R. O., & Stickle, T. R. (2002). A critical evaluation of the parenting stress index-short form (PSI-SF) in a head start population. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 31, 384–392.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Roberts, R. N., Wasik, B. H., Casto, G., & Ramey, C. T. (1991). Family support in the home: Programs, policy, and social change. American Psychologist, 46, 131–137.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Schreibman, L., & Koegel, R. (1996). Fostering self-management: parent-delivered pivotal response training for children with autistic disorder. In E. Hibbs & P. Jensen (Eds.), Psychosocial treatment for child and adolescent disorders: Empirically based strategies for clinical practice (pp. 525–552). Washington: American Psychological Association.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Shields, J. (2001). The NASEarlyBird programme. Autism, 5, 49–56.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Smith, B., Duncan, M. M., Holverstott, J., Myles, B. S., & Swanson, T. C. (2007). Autism spectrum disorders [Two Volumes]: A handbook for parents and professionals. Westport: Greenwood Publishing.

    Google Scholar 

  • South Eastern Sydney and Illawarra Area Health Service. (2005). Earlybird program: A parenting program for families with infants newborn to eight weeks. Sydney, NSW. State Health Publication No: SESIAHS 050069.

  • Sussman, F. (1999). More than words: Helping parents promote communication and social skills in children with autistic spectrum disorders. Oxford: Winslow Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Tehee, E., Honan, R., & Hevey, D. (2009). Factors contributing to stress in parents of individuals with autistic spectrum disorders. Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 22, 34–42.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Tunali, B., & Power, T. G. (2002). Coping by redefinition: cognitive appraisals in mothers of children with autism and children without autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 32, 25–34.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Turnbull, A. P., & Turnbull, H. R. (1986). Families, professionals, and exceptionality: A special partnership. Columbus: Merrill Pub. Co.

    Google Scholar 

  • Volkert, V. M., & Vaz, P. C. M. (2010). Recent studies on feeding problems in children with autism. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 43, 155–159.

    PubMed Central  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Whitaker, P. (2002). Supporting families of preschool children with autism: what parents want and what helps. Autism, 6, 411–426. doi:10.1177/1362361302006004007.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Zager, D. (2005). Autism spectrum disorders: Identification, education, and treatment (3rd ed.). Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Ian Dempsey.

Appendix

Appendix

More Detailed Content of the Education Program Sessions

FIRST SESSION:

Welcome, introduction to the education program and information about ASD (Autism Research Institute 2007; Hollander 2003; Smith et al. 2007).

  1. 1.

    Building a relationship between the researcher and mothers and among mothers themselves.

  2. 2.

    Description of the nature and goals of the program and the principles that govern the work of the group.

  3. 3.

    Autism Spectrum Disorder: Definition and characteristics.

  4. 4.

    Autism Spectrum Disorder: Causes and diagnosis.

SECOND SESSION:

Communication difficulties in children with ASD, and social difficulties (making friends) (Autism Research Institute 2007; Blue-Banning et al. 2004; Hollander 2003; Smith et al. 2007; Zager 2005).

  1. 1.

    Introduction.

  2. 2.

    What is communication? How are friendships formed?

  3. 3.

    Characteristics and impact of social and communication difficulties.

  4. 4.

    Strategies to support children with communication or social difficulties.

  5. 5.

    Summary.

THIRD SESSION:

Repetitive behaviour and sensory processing (Gense and Jay 2005; Smith et al. 2007).

  1. 1.

    Introduction.

  2. 2.

    What is repetitive behaviour? What is sensory processing?

  3. 3.

    Characteristics and impact of repetitive behaviour and sensory processing problems.

  4. 4.

    Strategies to support children with repetitive behaviour or sensory processing problems.

  5. 5.

    Summary.

FOURTH SESSION:

Sleeping and eating problems and programs for children with ASD. Helping children with ASD during play time, and conclusion (Australian Psychological Society 2010; Bromley et al. 2004; Handleman and Harris 2008; National Research Council 2001; Schreibman and Koegel 1996; Volkert and Vaz 2010).

  1. 1.

    Introduction of sleeping and eating problems.

  2. 2.

    Strategies to manage sleeping and eating problems

  3. 3.

    Introduction of the importance of play for children with ASD.

  4. 4.

    How to play with a child with ASD.

  5. 5.

    Review of what has been presented in previous sessions.

  6. 6.

    Dissection of any issues arising from previous sessions.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Al-Khalaf, A., Dempsey, I. & Dally, K. The Effect of an Education Program for Mothers of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder in Jordan. Int J Adv Counselling 36, 175–187 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10447-013-9199-3

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10447-013-9199-3

Keywords

  • Early childhood intervention
  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Parent education programs
  • Parental stress and coping