A qualitative study on parents of autistic adolescents' experience of OT-ParentShip: A family-centred intervention

Einav Kahlon, Batel Wachspress, Itai Berger, Adina Maeir, Tal Mazor-Karsenty*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: OT-ParentShip intervention addresses the needs of autistic adolescents and the physical and emotional burden associated with parental caregiving. Aim: This article describes the qualitative findings of a mixed-method, single-group, pre-test–post-test pilot study to determine whether this intervention has adequate potential for further, large-scale testing. Method: The qualitative study sought to understand 14 parents' (N = 4 couples, N = 6 mothers) experiences in the intervention, examine their satisfaction, and receive their suggestions for improvement, using a grounded approach, with the aim of conceptualising a theoretical understanding of the data gathered. Results: A total of five key themes and 14 sub-themes describe parents' experiences. The key themes that were identified were parent–therapist relationship, parent–adolescent relationship, reframing, benefit for family, and parental resilience. Emerging themes shed light on the therapeutic components and change mechanisms of the intervention. Conclusion: Self-determination theory was found to be an adequate theoretical framework to map these components and help in understanding their contribution to treatment outcomes. OT-Parentship directly enforces parents' basic psychological needs, who, in turn, support their adolescent child's need for relatedness, competence, and autonomy. An occupational therapy intervention that satisfies these basic needs has the potential to lead to therapeutic alliance and internalisation of goals, thus increasing therapy engagement and outcomes.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)627 - 640
Number of pages14
JournalAustralian Occupational Therapy Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to express their appreciation and gratitude to the parents that participated in this study for sharing their stories.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Occupational Therapy Australia.


  • adolescents
  • autism spectrum disorder
  • parent intervention
  • qualitative study
  • self-determination theory (SDT)


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