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There has been an increase of children being identified with autism in the United States (Center for Disease Control, 2009), leading to an increased concern of how to best meet the needs of children with autism and their families. In response to each reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (2004), in which the roles of families have been strengthened in planning their child's education and professionals have had more input, the field has tried to uncover the 'best' ways to support parents. Recommended practice suggests that parents are best able to identify their own support needs, with assistance from professionals in identifying supports to assist with these needs (Murray et al., 2007). The focus of this study was to identify the forms of social support that parents of children recently diagnosed with autism perceive as being important. Twenty parents of children recently diagnosed with autism participated in this study. These parents completed a Q-sort using the forms of social support, which allowed for a ranking from "most" to "least" important. Statistically significant correlations were found on five support items. Factor analysis was conducted to explore groups of participants with similar rankings of the Q sort items.


Special Education

Publication Title

International Journal of Early Childhood Special Education