Date of Award

Spring 5-11-2014

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Marital and Family Therapy

School or College

College of Communication and Fine Arts

First Advisor

Paige Asawa

Abstract

This research served to visualize levels of family satisfaction and quality of life in families with an Autistic member(s). Art-based qualitative survey was the primary method of gathering data. The vast majority of the literature on autism focused on the treatment of the child, yet some literature suggested a re-focusing on the family as the unit of treatment may improve family satisfaction and quality of life. Taking this into consideration this research explored how parents experience family satisfaction through written and visual responses. The theme of independence for the child with autism was present in all five visual responses which suggested a desire to see their child functioning autonomously. Due to the inherit bias of therapy’s affect on relationships it was surprising that approximately half of the participants reported not experiencing a change in their relationship with their child after treatment. Both the data gathered and the literature reviewed lead to the research conclusion that the caregivers of a child with Autism experience a higher level of family satisfaction when they are flexible and gain support from mental health services and a community of family and friends.

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