Support groups for parents of children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are very common in public mental health settings. These groups have been found to be helpful in reducing parental stress and providing parents with professional knowledge as well as peer support. Clinical experience, as well as parents' verbal feedback, often indicates that within these groups there are occasionally unmet needs that are not expressed during sessions. In this article we describe the benefits of using routine measurement and feedback as means to identify and address such needs. The article presents clinical examples of how routine measurement and feedback can assist group leaders in the delicate and often complex work of responding to both individual and group processes and in adapting group structure according to the specific needs of the individuals participating in the group. A demonstration of rupture and repair patterns, identified and facilitated by the use of feedback, is followed. Finally, we discuss the benefits of routine measurements in support groups that utilize a rolling group structure, as a means to accurately assess their effectiveness. We briefly conclude with the need for further studies on routine measurement of parents' groups, aimed at gaining knowledge needed to provide a better adjustment for both parents and children coping with ASD challenges.
- Autistic spectrum disorder
- Routine measurement and feedback
- Support groups