Psychological Science Faculty Publications and Presentations

Pilgrimage for an autism diagnosis: A study of Venezuelan parents’ experiences

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It cannot be assumed that the experience of having an autistic child is the same across countries since demographic and systemic factors are as diverse as the manifestation of ASD symptomatology. This study explores the lived experiences of 20 Venezuelan parents after receiving an autism diagnosis for their child. Applied thematic analysis was used to analyze parental attitudes, challenges in identifying their child's delay, access to diagnostic services, beliefs towards autism, professional evaluations, family support, and perceptions toward health and educational services for autistic children. Venezuelan parents reported a generalized lack of autism awareness, an unsupportive school system, and judgment from their extended family. Despite the universal health coverage in the country, Venezuelan parents commented on the scarcity of services, as well as the lengthy and costly processes to receive an ASD diagnosis. The results support previous research findings showing that socioeconomic factors influence how parents experience the process of obtaining an autism diagnosis for their children. For most Venezuelan parents, it might imply a long journey in which limited resources and knowledge about autism will determine its route and length. For parents, cultural values and spiritual and religious beliefs will serve as both coping mechanisms and barriers to accessing services.


© The Author(s) 2023.

Publication Title

Transcultural Psychiatry