Social communication supports and services for adults with ASD: Parents’ perceptions of barriers and needs

Document Type


Publication Date



Social Work

Publication Title

Journal of Family Social Work


Adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) experience significant social communication challenges that impact key areas of life, including relationship and employment success. Evidence points to great potential for social communication growth in adults with ASD; however, families’ access to supports and services is limited by lack of funding and accessibility. Scant research has been dedicated to unearthing the experiences of adults with ASD and their parents pertaining to social communication supports and services. This qualitative study gathered perceptions from 17 parents through focus groups aimed at determining barriers to and gaps in the system of social communication supports and services for adults with ASD. Using a phenomenological approach, conceptual content analysis was used to examine the parents’ perceptions and determine coding categories. Analyses revealed a number of barriers to effective use of such services and supports, and wishes for changes to facilitate services and supports in this area. Implications for professionals and policymakers are presented.

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