Parents' experiences of caring for children with autism and attending a touch therapy programme

Julie H. Barlow, Lesley A. Cullen

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8 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this qualitative study was twofold: (1) to explore parents' experiences of caring for children with autism; and (2) to determine whether attending a touch therapy programme (TTP) was of value. The sample comprised 10 parents (one father and nine mothers) of children (one female and nine male) with autism. Parents were interviewed before and immediately after the 8-week programme. Results showed that autism dominated the lives of parents and their family. Family functioning was disturbed and marital relationships became strained for some parents. Family outings were rare and children's demands persisted 24 hours a day. Parents felt isolated, frustrated and bewildered. The TTP was adjusted to meet more closely the needs of children and their parents. Parents valued the opportunity to learn a practical skill on the TTP. Moreover, touch therapy appeared to be relaxing and enjoyable for both parent and child, facilitating communication and closeness.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-45
JournalChild Care in Practice
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2002

Bibliographical note

The full text of this item is not available from the repository. Please note Lesley Cullen has subsequently changed her name to Lesley Powell.


  • autism
  • parenting
  • touch therapy


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