Seeking progressive fit: a constructivist grounded theory and autoethnographic study investigating how parents deal with the education of their child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) over time

Jasmine McDonald

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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Abstract

The aim of the study was to develop substantive theory about how West Australian (WA) parents deal with the education of their child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) over time. Estimated prevalence rates for all forms of ASDs worldwide have risen dramatically over the last 50 years. This has meant that there are an ever increasing number of children with an ASD in Australia who need appropriate educational services to maximize their potential. Despite this increase, there have been relatively few studies undertaken which have investigated how parents deal with the education of their child with an ASD over time. There is a call in the research literature to provide different research methodologies to answer alternative questions in regard to education of an individual with an ASD because of the idiosyncratic nature and progress of the disorder. The preferred source of such information is at the local level where individuals with an ASD, parents and professionals who possess the most authentic knowledge can be found. The study was conceptualized within the social theory of symbolic interactionism and used constructivist grounded theory methods and an innovative use of autoethnographic research methods to develop substantive theory about how WA parents deal with the education of their child with an ASD over time. A series of in-depth case studies investigating six families from diverse backgrounds was conducted. The basis for data collection was semi-structured interviews, participant observation, informal interviews and documentary data sources consistent with the interpretivist qualitative research tradition. Data analysis occurred concurrently with data collection and incorporated open coding, focused coding and member checking that led to generation and confirmation of propositions of the theory. The seeking of progressive fit emerged as the central proposition of the theory generated from this study. This overriding basic social process permeated the
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Western Australia
Supervisors/Advisors
  • Chapman, Anne, Supervisor
  • Punch, Keith, Supervisor
Award date1 Dec 2010
Publication statusUnpublished - 2010

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