Una plática: The Experiences of Latinx Families with a Child with Autism
Caregivers raising a child with autism often experience many unique struggles including financial stress due to therapies needed for their child, overwhelming emotions stemming from receiving the autism diagnosis, and balancing daily life and familial obligations. Research within counselor education on family and caregiver experiences with a child with autism is limited. Information about clinical practices and professional training on how to work with autism populations and families is often disregarded within counseling programs. In addition, cultural variations in experiences are discounted. The purposed of this study was to understand the shared experiences of Latinx families with a child with autism in their own words. Eight identifying Latinx caregivers of children with autism collaborated in a qualitative plática analysis. The eight collaborators participated in pláticas, or conversations, that were culturally relevant to the Latinx culture. Pláticas were transcribed, interpreted, and examined individually. Following individual interpretation, pláticas were analyzed in a group to examine for commonalities and differences across all pláticas. The analyses were organized through a decolonizing lens. Collaborators shared their stories that included challenges, strengths, and supports raising a child with autism. Collaborative themes included Amor y Apoyo, Nuestra Salud Mental: Opening Our Minds to Autism, Fighting for my Child, and I Can’t Breathe: Isolation, Guilt, Denial and Depression. The findings suggest implications for how counselors, supervisors, and other helping professionals approach their work with autism populations from a culturally sensitive lens.