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Transcripts of Selected Group Discussions on CYC-Net

Since it's founding in 1997, the CYC-Net discussion group has been asked thousands of questions. These questions often generate many replies from people in all spheres of the Child and Youth Care profession and contain personal experiences, viewpoints, as well as recommended resources.

Below are some of the threads of discussions on varying Child and Youth Care related topics.

Questions and Responses have been reproduced verbatim.

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Autism and parenting styles


My name is Bahia, a second year student at Mount Royal University in Calgary, Ca.

I am currently placed at a school where the children have autism that ranges from mild to severe. Having worked with them first hand, I have learned how they develop and the different approaches and techniques they need to learn. Because I haven’t had the opportunity to meet the parents, I was just wondering if different parenting styles influence how these children learn and if they benefit more from one style than another.


Parenting styles that can affect a child with autisms learning? I can’t really say. I mean my understanding from the work I do is that individuals with ASD learn best through ABA based methods, cause and effect, positive and/or negative reinforcement.

Parenting styles that may affect behavioral interventions however are for sure. Permissive parenting often won’t address some of the intervention methods needed for when a child has a behavior that needs to be extinguished sooner than later (i.e. aggression). But these behaviors can still be addressed and extinguished within a school setting without parental support. Just makes it harder for the educators.



Dear Bahia,

Nice to hear your experience with autistic children. I have had some years of experience in this area and feel like sharing some insights with you.
Parents of children with autism are on different levels of acceptance and knowledge. Some find it difficult accepting the fact that their children are in this spectrum. This definitely affects the kind of support such parents will give their children.

Parents who have come to accept their child's diagnosis are very supportive and adaptive in their approach. Parenting style could positively or negatively impact the learning of children with autism.


Oluranti Adetoye

Just an observation. It is not particularly easy to accept that one's child has got such challenges of being on the spectrum especially some cultures or nations that these diagnosis are not prevalent. However, truly it is helpful to support the individuals if both parents and support staffs are on the same page. Nonetheless, as professionals, we need to keep educating the general populace about the reality and then the readiness to collaborate together for the benefits of all the parties.

Ade Adejobi

Hi Bahia and others,

I am always happy to hear CYCPs enjoying their work with the diverse and wonderful autism population. I have to admit though, I am not a fan of the terminology "mild" to "severe" . Using this kind of pathologized medical labeling leads one to see only what can be referred to as a disorder or disease. In my work, I focus on strength-based, individualized care of young people on the spectrum. It will be my life's work to see the of end of CYCPs using labels such as "high-functioning", "low functioning", "mild" and "severe".

I would also have to disagree that ABA is the best learning model for this population. Although I am trained in ABA and find aspects of it incredibly useful in my work at times, it is not helpful to use it as a blanket approach, one-size-fits-all model. There are many autistic self-advocates who strongly oppose these 'treatment' approaches as they risk trying to 'fix' the person's behaviours to live up to biased standards of what people view as 'normal'. Instead, I encourage you to look at autism as a culture of diverse people who have much to offer this world.

As far as parenting, I believe your question can be applied to any young person, not just those diagnosed on the spectrum. Parenting styles affect all young people in their development and growth, regardless of a medical diagnosis.

I recommend two articles by my esteemed colleague Yvonne Bristow: Child and Youth Care Online issue 202 and issue 203. She talks about work with families and a relational approach to work with young people diagnosed with ASD.


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