The Experiences of Fathers Who Have Offspring with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Alexander Burrell, Jonathan Ives*, Gemma Unwin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Research exploring parents’ experiences of having offspring with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) currently underrepresents fathers. This study aimed to develop an understanding of the experience of fathers, with a view to facilitating improved support. Eight fathers participated in semi-structured interviews exploring their experiences of fathering children with ASD. Fathers described their experiences as a path towards acceptance, with independence and integration for their offspring being key goals. Fathers saw themselves as advocates fighting obstructive services to access appropriate care. The value placed on formal and informal support varied, although the need for personalised support was emphasised. Enabling fathers to see their experiences as a journey, whilst engaging them on the important topics of independence and integration, may improve their experience.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1135-1147
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Issue number4
Early online date28 Jan 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2017


  • Acceptance
  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Experiences
  • Fathers
  • Qualitative

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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