There is a dearth of research about the experiences of the Latino population in raising a child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This includes a lack of cross-cultural perspectives and perspectives from fathers. Although there are similar experiences in raising a child with ASD among parents, we hypothesize that there will be different experiences due to culture. The current study is an exploratory qualitative research design, where we sought to understand the experiences of Latino and non-Latino White parents who are raising a child with ASD. Results indicated similarities across all families that include: self-efficacy beliefs, challenges, stress and coping, and goals and expectations. Different themes emerged in the Latino families that were not evident in non-Latino White families. Specifically, Latino families emphasized religion and faith, involvement and love, extended family support, Latino pride, and importance of collaboration. Implications are discussed for further cross-cultural family studies, the need to inform healthcare professionals on the early signs of ASD especially with regard to culture, and the importance of collaboration among parents and professionals.


Autism Spectrum Disorder, Parents, Exploratory Research, Qualitative Research

Author Bio(s)

Nicole Casillas, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Special Education in the School of Education at Seattle Pacific University. Her research interest includes autism spectrum disorder, video self-modeling, cross-cultural research studies, and transition issues for adolescents and youth with autism spectrum disorder. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: Nicole Casillas, Ph.D., Seattle Pacific University, School of Education, Peterson Hall/414, 3304 Third Ave West, Suite 202, Seattle, WA 98119; Email: casillasn@spu.edu.

Debra C. Vigil, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, is an Associate Professor in the Department Speech Pathology & Audiology at the University of Nevada, Reno. Her research interests include identification of cultural differences in language acquisition, cultural diversity issues in treatment of minority children with language disorders, social interactive predictors of language disorders, and autism spectrum disorder. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: Debra C. Vigil, Ph.D., University of Nevada, Reno, Department of Speech Pathology & Audiology, Redfield Building/0152, 1664 North Virginia Street, Reno, NV 89557; Email: dvigil@medicine.nevada.edu.

Hui-Ting Wang, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Special Education at the National Taiwan Normal University in Taiwan. She has been a Board Certified Behavior Analyst since 2008. Her research interests include autism spectrum disorder, early intervention, applied behavior analysis, and cultural linguistic diversity. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: Hui-Ting Wang, Ph.D., National Taiwan Normal University, Taiwan, Department of Special Education, National Taiwan Normal University, No. 162, Sec. 1, HePing, East Road, Taipei 106, Taiwan; Email: tinaw@ntnu.edu.tw.


The authors gratefully acknowledge the families who participated in the study.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
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