Blended Family life on the spectrum

Research Study

Almost nothing is known about the process of family formation among remarried families of children with autism. In this qualitative interview study I propose to interview approximately 10 sets of parents to determine what adaptations family members have had to make in order to form a new blended family. In particular I want to know what challenges and benefits children with autism bring to the family formation processes, as described by parents. In order to build upon the current literature on remarriage and families, this study aims to provide research on the challenges blended families face when raising a child with autism.

This study seeks stepparents and the biological parent of a child with autism. It consists of two parts. The first part is an anonymous survey. The survey mainly asks demographic questions. It also asks the participants questions pertaining to custody, autism diagnosis and also psychological testing information. The last question in the survey asks the participant if they would be willing to be interviewed. The second part to this study is the interview. The interview which is the integral piece of the study. Should the participators wish to partake in the in interview they will need to provide me a contact. The information I am seeking through these interviews is to gain a better perspective on family formation, adjustment, and support in a blended family situation. My goal is to help support these families by collecting quality information in order so that more meaningful support can be provided in the future. As a stepparent of a child with autism I am quite sensitive to the needs of these families and bring with me as a graduate student a special set of skills. I am very much looking forward to bringing this research forward.

University of California, Santa Barbara