Toronto Metropolitan University
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Making space for positive constructions of the mother-child relationship : the voices of mothers of children with autism spectrum disorder

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posted on 2021-06-08, 10:05 authored by Natalie Charles
Unlike most research that employs attachment theory and ideologies of good mothering, this study takes a feminist theoretical perspective in order to explore positive aspects of the mother-child relationship, as described by mothers of children on the autism spectrum. Qualitative oral history interviews were conducted with five mothers of children diagnosed with ASD (autism spectrum disorder) in Toronto and York Region of Ontario. Four themes emerged from the data analysis: building a bond through learning and growth of the self; "you will grow with them and your love will grow"; "find support where you can from people who will understand", and all I want is the best for my child's future. The findings from this study indicate that mothers of children on the autism spectrum can experience their mother-child relationship as a positive bond, one that develops as result of the mothers' self reflection and growth, which they in turn attribute to the influence of their children, and give this bond back to their children through their mothering practices. The findings of this research study help to make the case that the scope of intervention services must be broadened to focus on facilitating, and acknowledging the positive side of the mother-child relationship amongst families of children on the autism spectrum.





  • Master of Arts


  • Early Childhood Studies

Granting Institution

Ryerson University

LAC Thesis Type

  • MRP

Thesis Advisor

Rachel Berman