A GROUNDED THEORY STUDY OF THE EXPERIENCES, PROCESS, AND TRANSITIONAL NEEDS OF PEOPLE WITH AUTISM
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The overall purpose of this qualitative, constructivist, grounded theory study is to gain a clear understanding of the experience and process of transition for people with autism during the stage of emerging adulthood. Specifically, the objectives are: (a) to gain an understanding of the lived experiences and development processes of individuals with autism during their transition from youth to adulthood; (b) to construct a substantive theory of the experience and process of this transition, grounded in the experiences of people with autism and other stakeholders; (c) to identify any gaps or deficits in governmental or nongovernmental support that, if ameliorated, could ease an transition into adulthood of people with autism. This study employed qualitative analysis, using constructivist grounded theory. Data were obtained through in-depth interviews with two groups of participants, including parents of people with autism and professionals involved in service-providing organizations. Twelve interviews were conducted; two of the ten participants were second interviewed. Participants were selected from Saskatoon using the snowball method. It is revealed from this study that the main concern of people with autism was “resistance to change”. Properly managing their transition in to adulthood addresses this concern, helps them feel relaxed, and may prevent them from engaging in socially unacceptable behavior. The theory developed from this study describes 6 processes of effective transition: (a) make a plan; (b) introduce change gradually; (c) communicate effectively; (d) work in a team; (e) develop a supportive community; and (f) retain support staff. More individualized programs are needed for people with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs), and existing funding policies should be reviewed. Also, they would benefit from vocational training, residential facilities, more funds, trained staff, and trained Education Assistants (EA). It is anticipated that the knowledge gained from this study will provide information on transition management. This research, therefore, is particularly beneficial to the people with autism and their families, as well as professionals working in this field. This study will also be useful in reviewing the policies and programs of government and nongovernment organizations in the field of autism. In its application, this study aims to contribute to both the research literature and existing programs on autism.
DegreeMaster of Science (M.Sc.)
DepartmentCommunity Health and Epidemiology
ProgramCommunity and Population Health Science
CommitteeHoltslander, Lorraine; Jenzen, Bonnie; Kalyn, Brenda
Copyright DateMarch 2015