There is an increasing awareness among early childhood professionals of the importance of father-child relationships in child development, and in supporting the father's identity so that he, like the mother, is a key figure in the child's life. There coexists a lag in empirical data on fathers of children with special needs, specifically autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Parents of young children with ASD report higher than average rates of stress and decreased self-efficacy with child rearing. Because ASD is the number one occurring developmental disability in the United States, with one in eighty-eight children (one in fifty-four boys) being diagnosed, there is a critical need for mental health programs to include fathers in the intervention process. The author sought to learn more about fathers of children with ASD and, more specifically, their perceptions about parenting, child rearing, and dealing with the diagnosis of ASD. (Author abstract)
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