Space at home for families with a child with autistic spectrum disorder

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The interrelationship between the home environment, occupations and wellbeing was explored in relation to the lived experiences of three families with a child diagnosed with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD). Each family had acquired an extra downstairs room through moving or adapting their home, which they dedicated to their child with ASD. This project used diary records and narrative interviews to gain an in-depth understanding of how the room was used, the meaning that the family attached to this additional space and its impact on their occupational engagement.

The findings reflected the complexity of problems experienced by children with ASD and their families. They revealed that dedicated physical space was experienced as important personal, emotional and occupational space for all family members.

This study helps to develop a theoretical understanding of the importance of establishing a good fit between individuals with developmental disabilities and their home environment. It argues that space at home influences the behaviour of children with ASD, the stress levels of their parents and the occupational engagement of all members of their family, and emphasises the importance of adequate space at home for children with ASD and their families.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2009

More about this publication?
  • The British Journal of Occupational Therapy (BJOT) is the official journal of the College of Occupational Therapists. Its purpose is to publish articles relevant to theory, practice, research, education and management in occupational therapy internationally.

    BJOT publishes research articles, critical reviews, practice analyses, opinion pieces, editorials, letters to the editor, book reviews and an annual index. Please refer to the author's guide at

    Submissions can be made at

    The 2013 Impact Factor for The British Journal of Occupational Therapy is 0.897.

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