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Families’ Experiences with Family Navigation Services in the Autism Treatment Network

TitleFamilies’ Experiences with Family Navigation Services in the Autism Treatment Network
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsCrossman, MK, Lindly, OJ, Chan, J, Eaves, M, Kuhlthau, KA, Parker, RA, Coury, DL, Zand, DH, Nowinski, LA, Smith, K, Tomkinson, M, Murray, DS
JournalPediatrics Supplement

Aims and Objectives:
Family Navigation helps families get better access to health care services. Families of children with autism would likely benefit from Family Navigation services. This study aimed to identify the type of Family Navigation services received by families at their Autism Treatment Network center. It also looked to see if these services made the families’ experiences with treatments and supports better.

Researchers studied two hundred and sixty parents of children with autism under twelve years. They asked parents about the type of Family Navigation services they received and how much stress their child’s autism care has put on them and their family. They also asked parents about their skills and confidence in managing their child’s health. The questions were asked before and after Family Navigation services were given to the family. Researchers interviewed twenty seven parents of autistic children to learn more about their experiences.

After receiving Family Navigation services parents’ involvement in their child’s care improved. Parents also reported that they were happier and less worried after receiving Family Navigation services. Family Navigation services did not change family functioning. Families had different experiences with Family Navigation Some differences in Family Navigation experiences were due to the kind of services the families received. How services were introduced and how successful they were also led to differences.

This study suggests that Family Navigation services in autism could improve families’ experiences. It also shows that these services are different at each hospital, and these differences impact families’ experiences. Further study is needed to learn how to best use Family Navigation services over time.