Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 24, Issue 4, pp 1088–1096 | Cite as

Parents’ Perspectives Towards the Diagnosis of Autism: An Italian Case Study Research

  • Paola Molteni
  • Silvia Maggiolini
Original Paper


We investigated the parental changes and challenges that anticipated and followed the communication of the diagnosis of autism. The methodology was a collaborative and participatory case study focused on the perceptions of 31 families with a child on the autism spectrum enrolled in a no-profit Association in the Province of Monza and Brianza (Italy). The aim of the research was collecting information for the establishment of a local permanent observatory, monitoring the needs of families with children with autism, and identifying possible operational proposals to implement the quality of the territorial services, through the enhancement of the experiences, perceptions and representations of families, analysing their points of view. Methods included semi structured interviews and questionnaires; the data were analysed through the interpretative phenomenological analysis method. The findings show that parents need to be supported in order to avoid crisis and confusion on the child’s future perspectives, as consequence of the diagnosis of autism. The paper draws out implications for further studies that wish to analyse other family perspectives.


Autism spectrum conditions Diagnosis Family Association Case study research Interpretative phenomenological analysis 



This research was only possibly due to the funding of ‘Fondazione Cariplo’. The researchers would like to offer profound gratitude to all parents, children and professionals of the association ‘Cascina San Vincenzo’ that participated in this project, and to the research team of the Research Centre on Disability and Marginality (CeDisMa).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EducationUniversità Cattolica del Sacro CuoreMilanItaly

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