Pervasive developmental disorder and parental adaptation: Previewing and reviewing atypical development with parents in child psychiatric consultation

  • Schuntermann P
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Parenting young children with pervasive developmental disorder engenders unique sustained stresses, which have been termed "burden of care." One specific source of stress for parents is the children's uneven developmental progress, in which delays and accelerations of adaptive functioning may exist side by side. This paper proposes a clinical method that may be incorporated into periodic child psychiatric consultations with parents of young children who have high-functioning autism or Asperger's disorder. Using a semistructured technique, the clinician reviews with the parents the details of the child's recent developmental course and attempts to identify emergent skills that may serve to preview upcoming developmental issues and gains. This method is aimed at enhancing parental abilities to track and anticipate developmental progress and the resultant shift in the parent-child relationship, in order to reduce one source of sustained parental stress. Case illustrations of children ages 2-8 yrs old are discussed in light of recent literature on adaptive issues in families of individuals with a chronic medical or psychiatric condition and, specifically, families of children with pervasive developmental disorder. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2010 APA, all rights reserved)

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  • Peter Schuntermann

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