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From the JAMA Network
January 6, 2015

Maternal Mental Health After a Child’s Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Washington, Seattle
  • 2Department of Pediatrics, University of California, Los Angeles
  • 3Department of Internal Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles
JAMA. 2015;313(1):81-82. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.11187

From the moment a developmental concern is suspected, either by a child’s parent or a clinician, a family embarks on a lifelong journey of diagnosis and treatment. Receiving a formal diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) initiates the journey into the world of ASD. Establishment of an ASD diagnosis determines eligibility for services, including but not limited to behavioral, speech, and occupational therapies. Most parents develop a sense of urgency that early intervention services should be implemented immediately once their child is suspected of having ASD, potentially resulting in parental stress as the diagnostic process unfolds. Parents may feel they have not adequately supported their child if they cannot acquire intervention services in a timely fashion. While an ASD diagnosis is established and treatment is initiated, parents may experience their own sense of grief as they cope with having a child with a potential ASD.

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